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Jamestown Renaissance Corp. Discusses Future Plans

The Jamestown Renaissance Corporation is planning ways to help the community through downtown revitalization and neighborhood revitalization efforts. Pictured, from left, are the Rev. Luke Fodor, Mary Maxwell and Frank Besse. P-J photo by Timothy Frudd

The Jamestown Renaissance Corp. is continuing to look for ways to improve the city by encouraging community members to work together.

The Rev. Luke Fodor, co-chair of the Jamestown Renaissance Corp. board, said the COVID-19 pandemic caused the organization to take different approaches to meet the needs of the community. “The Jamestown Renaissance Corp. tried to be nimble and quick and to be able to respond to that moment,” he said.

One of the ways JRC responded to the pandemic was by focusing on helping businesses create outdoor dining spaces. Fodor said the corporation was able to direct money toward outdoor dining projects and work with the City Council to help restaurants make necessary changes, which continues to impact the community as outdoor dining spaces still remain desirable.

“That was a really strong kind of ability to pivot in the moment in the midst of a difficult situation, and make the best of it,” Fodor said.

As JRC moves forward, Fodor said the organization’s goal is to “clarify” the mission of JRC and to “stay within our lanes.”

With a variety of nonprofit organizations and government agencies working in the Jamestown community, Fodor said JRC wants to find ways to effectively work with the agencies to maximize its potential.

Working in conjunction with other groups in the city has been made easier since JRC moved its offices into City Hall. The staff members at JRC now have the opportunity to work in conjunction with city officials and other agencies housed at City Hall.

“JRC is an interesting organization, because it’s one of those unicorns out there have a public private partnership,” Fodor said. “It’s private dollars and sometimes public dollars that help do this work. It works best when it’s working with the government as well. Being right here, situated in City Hall, helps us do the work better.”

JRC held a meeting in August to discuss the future of the organization and determine its vision for improving the Jamestown community.

Fodor said JRC’s mission is to focus on two central components of the community that encourage people to work to make noticeable improvements throughout the city.

“The mission is really about two things: neighborhood revitalization and also downtown revitalization. We had a strategic meeting back in August to kind of reassess coming out of COVID. Like, what does the next chapter look like? And like many organizations COVID gave us opportunity to really focus on those key elements of what we’re doing.”

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