Jamestown DRI Project Nixed

A conceptual rendering of the future Riverwalk illumination project that will be completed this year. City officials received state Downtown Revitalization Initiative funding in 2017 to install decorative lights around the Greater Jamestown Riverwalk. Submitted photo

One of the 10 Jamestown Downtown Revitialization Initiative Projects has been nixed.

On Tuesday during a Jamestown Riverfront Management Council meeting, Crystal Surdyk, city development director, informed the council that the state has told city officials to allocate the $670,000 that was earmarked for excursion train infrastructure support and rail depot upgrades toward other DRI projects. She said because the excursion train and depot project has stalled since the $10 million in funding was awarded to the city in 2017, the project is no longer eligible to receive DRI funding. She added that state officials want all of the DRI funding allocated by the end of 2020.

Fortunately city officials won’t be losing the $670,000. Surdyk said city officials just need to allocate the funds toward another DRI project that was approved by the state. She said the funding could go toward the Riverwalk illumination project, improving city streetscapes or the Warner Dam catchment plan to install a floating debris collection system.

Surdyk said one of the reasons the excursion train project stalled was because city officials were waiting for a feasibility and implementation study to be completed. She said the report has finally been completed and is not the “high caliber” report city officials were expecting.

The DRI train funding of $670,000 was to be used to address gaps in infrastructure within the city to support regional excursion train traffic. The project was being proposed to be at the Jamestown Gateway Train station and at an adjacent location where local officials were working to redeveloping a former engine building along West Second Street.

In December, Surdyk told The Post-Journal if additional DRI funding went toward the Riverwalk illumination project it would mean more decorative lighting for more city landmarks than originally planned. The Riverwalk illumination project started last summer with the lighting of a silo at the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities. She said the final design phase is being completed for other landmarks that will receive decorative lighting, which includes the Washington Street Bridge and the Main Street Bridge, this year.

The other project Surdyk said the state DRI funding could be transferred toward is additional streetscape projects. The state approved $610,000 for three streetscape and pedestrian enhancement projects as part of the DRI. One streetscape project happened along Third Street by the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts, another along Cherry Street between Fourth and Third streets and the third project along East Third Street from Main to Pine streets; Potters Alley from East Second to East Third streets; and Black Bear Court from Potters Alley to Pine Street. The streetscape projects were done to create a more inviting and walkable downtown to set the stage for future investment.

In other business, Bill Stevenson, Riverfront Management Council chairman, said he is working to possibly hold a train excursion event that would either travel to Meadville, Pa., Olean or Salamanca. He said because the idea for train excursion travel in the city has slowed in recent years, he wants to hold an event to hopefully move the project forward.

“(I want an event) just to excite people,” he said.