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JURA To Receive $700,000 For Virus Response

The Jamestown Urban Renewal Agency will be receiving more than $700,000 to assist city residents deal with the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, outbreak.

On Monday, city officials discussed the additional funding, which is a part of the federal stimulus package passed by Congress last month, during a JURA board meeting.

Crystal Surdyk, city development director, said the city will be receiving $705,000 in additional funding to be deployed quickly to help residents. She said city officials have discussed using the funds to help small businesses and to possibly create a rental assistance program.

“We have been tasked, without all of the details, to develop programs to spend this money quickly,” Surdyk said.

The amount of additional funding the city will be receiving from the federal government for COVID-19 response was mentioned during a discussion to hire Seth Piccirillo of Mercantile Inc. of Buffalo as a consultant.

Eddie Sundquist, Jamestown mayor, said Piccirillo would help city officials develop new programs to assist city residents with the impact of the pandemic.

“The challenge is how do we support businesses with this funding,” he said. “Also, are there ways we can support people in renting housing.”

Along with potentially developing new programs to help with the COVID-19 response, Piccirillo would also assist with the search and hiring of a new city principal planner and research and planning assistant; provide help with the U.S. Housing and Urban Development consolidated action plan; and the identification of and submission of grant applications. The cost for Piccirillo’s services would not exceed $20,000, which was approved by the JURA board.

In other JURA business, the city will hire Block Club of Buffalo to initiate a citywide marketing and branding study. Surdyk said city officials have been discussing the “Jamestown Up Close” marketing and branding initiative that has been ongoing for several years. Sundquist said Jamestown Up Close does a great job of listing attractions and businesses in Jamestown, but he would like to create a more comprehensive branding plan for the city.

“We need something that is more focused,” he said.

Sundquist said, hopefully, a new comprehensive branding and marketing plan will bring more tourism to the city, but he would also like to attract more economic developers.

“This would create a study and comprehensive road map for branding,” he said.

Surdyk said city officials could hire Block Club for the branding study and marketing plan at a cost not to exceed $80,000. She said the money could come from the Urban Design Action Grant fund, which is a Jamestown Local Development Corp. revolving loan fund.

Sundquist said if the JURA board approved the funding, which they did following the discussion, city officials would receive a $5,000 discount. He said Block Club is willing to “jump into” the initiative for the city right now because they have more time available following the coronavirus outbreak. He added most of the marketing plan and branding study would be completed by June.

The JURA board also approved giving a due diligence period extension to Remlap Properties to June 28 for the purchase of four Winsor Street parcels. Surdyk said the properties are located across the street from the Appleyard Terrace housing complex. She said the Jamestown City Council has already approved the sale of the parcels for a total of $13,200. She added Remlap Properties officials reached out to the city for the extension following the pandemic because it has impacted the start of its construction schedule for the future Dollar General store.

Benjamin Haskin, city corporation counsel associate, said the signed contract between the city and Remlap Properties already allowed for the extension. The JURA board also approved giving Haskin the authority to give an additional two month due diligence extension to Remlap Properties at the end of June, if needed.

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