Best Of Luck, Mr. Mayor, In Your Future Endeavors
Jamestown has undergone many changes over the past two decades.
The west side of the city has seen rebirth starting with the site assembly for the project that would become the Northwest Arena and ending with the more recent opening of the National Comedy Center. Major employers have come and gone. Municipal finances have waned, boomed and waned again.
The constant, for 20 years as mayor and even longer as executive director of the Downtown Jamestown Development Corporation and then as Jamestown development director, has been Sam Teresi.
Today, the man who many city residents refer to simply as “Mr. Mayor” in stops at Lisciandro’s, Jamestown High School games or countless other city events will close the door to his fourth floor office in city hall for the final time. A list of Teresi’s accomplishments and the challenges the city has faced — some overcome, some still lingering — is too long to list in this space. There were warts and shortcomings, decisions we’re sure the mayor wishes he could take back or conversations he would approach differently with the benefit of hindsight. At the same time, Teresi has done a lot of good over two decades as mayor and more than three decades in public service. It’s difficult being mayor of a small city that is hemorrhaging its tax base, jobs and people. Budgets are tight, and a mayor has to be creative to create even the smallest of new programs or bring new development online.
Teresi did that.
It was difficult not to fall victim to Teresi’s effervescent belief in and love of his hometown. Other than his wife, children and family, it’s hard to imagine Teresi loving anything as much as he loves Jamestown. That has been evident when watching Teresi talk about Jamestown with governors and U.S. senators. It’s even more evident for those who have bumped into the mayor at the annual Labor Day Festival to have Teresi ask about one’s family, how the children are doing, a new restaurant in town that someone just has to try, new playground equipment the city could add to make the park just a little bit better for children, or talking about the upcoming JHS football or basketball game.
Perhaps that’s why the siren song of bigger cities or higher elected office didn’t lure Teresi away, despite constant rumors that a job in a state office was always in the offing.
Whether or not you voted for Teresi, whether or not you agreed with Teresi’s policies, you could never argue that his decisions were based on a belief that he was doing what was best for Jamestown.
That is perhaps the best way to remember Sam Teresi’s 20 years as mayor. He was Jamestown through and through.
Best of luck, Mr. Mayor, in your future endeavors.