Going Out To Bid

City Officials Working On Thayer Street Building Cleanup

The debris cleanup from an emergency demolition of 787 E. Second and 31 Thayer streets, Jamestown, following an arson fire in June will be going out to bid soon, said Crystal Surdyk, city development director. P-J photo by Dennis Phillips

City officials continue working to clear the debris of the buildings involved in a Thayer Street fire ruled arson.

During a Jamestown City Council Housing Committee meeting Monday, Crystal Surdyk, city development director, gave an update on demolitions happening around the city. She said the cleanup of 787 E. Second and 31 Thayer streets will be going out to bid soon. She added that the two buildings needed to go through an emergency demolition following the arson fire in June.

On June 17, a large fire broke out early in the morning at a house that spread to two neighboring properties. The Jamestown Fire Department ruled the fire arson. At the time, Jamestown Police Department said it was looking for information after a person was spotted on surveillance video approaching 31 Thayer St. around 1:50 a.m. That same person was then seen running away from the property around 1:54 a.m. A 10-second video of the unidentified person was released by Jamestown police.

As of Tuesday, JPD is still looking for the suspect. Information can be sent to JPD at 483-7537, through the tip line at 483-TIPS (8477) or through the Tips 411 App. All calls and tips are kept confidential.

Firefighters were alerted to the blaze shortly after 2 a.m. Crews arrived to find the property fully engulfed by flames.

The fire spread to a neighboring home at 35 Thayer St. as well as to a property at 787 E. Second St., causing significant damage to both including a partial roof collapse at the latter.

At least two of the properties were believed to be vacant.

On Monday, Surdyk said the owner of 35 Thayer St. is working with their insurance company to determine if the house will be repaired or if it will also be demolished.

Surdyk also discussed that it’s unknown what will happen to the building located at 718 Cherry St. following a fire in June.

On June 26, a multi-family property located on the corner of West Eighth and Cherry streets was destroyed by fire. At the time, Matthew Coon, city deputy fire chief, said an occupant on the first floor unit, which faces West Eighth Street, was not home when the fire broke out. The second family unit, which faces Cherry Street, was not occupied.

Surdyk said it’s an “interesting situation” with what will happen to the fire-damaged house. She said city officials are working toward either having the building repaired or demolished by the owner.

However, she added that could prove to be a difficult task because the owner is incarcerated.

Surdyk also announced that three demolitions of other properties — 851 Spring St., 857 Spring St. and 51 Elliott Ave. — have gone out to bid. She said city officials are working with the Chautauqua County Land Bank Corp. on the demolitions. She added they have wanted to demolish the properties for awhile, but were delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Surdyk also announced the owner of 262 Forest Ave., where an emergency demolition occurred, is in the process of working with their insurance company to clean the debris.

In other business, Surdyk announced there will be a delay in the Riverwalk Illumination project. She told the council the design consultant — IPL Corp. — who was hired in June to install the lights on the Washington Street Bridge didn’t acquire the proper permits from the state Department of Transportation. She said Tuesday city, state and IPL Corp. officials will meet to discuss the permit situation.

“Hopefully, it won’t delay things too long,” she said. “Hopefully, it doesn’t require us to go back to design.”

Surdyk was asked if the company was experienced in this type of work. Surdyk said they are, but apparently there was an internal miscommunication between IPL Corp. officials who believed they didn’t need the state Department of Transportation permits to fasten lights onto the Washington Street Bridge.

“It was a shock to us, and very, very disappointing because we were hoping to be under construction,” she said.

The Riverwalk illumination project is one of the 10 funded through the $10 million state Downtown Revitalization Initiative in 2017. City officials received $325,000 for the project that will consist of decorative lighting around Jamestown’s waterfront. The funding also went toward installing kayak and canoe launches along the Chadakoin River at McCrea Point Park and to complete a floating debris collection system around the Warner Dam.

In June, the council approved funding $428,500 to IPL Corp. to implement the lighting plan on the Washington Street and South Main Street bridges.


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