City Has Tried Building Housing, But State Dollars Never Came

Jamestown City Council members are poised to join Dunkirk in taking the state’s Pro Housing Communities pledge.

When it comes to New York state, however, the pledge is only as good as the money it brings in – and New York doesn’t have a great track record of funding housing projects in the greater Jamestown area.

Let’s not forget the Jackson Spring housing development from about a decade ago. After months of discussions and community education, developers approved building the Jackson Spring housing project on the city’s north side as long as funding could be secured. That project would have included demolishing several vacant and condemned houses and, in their place, two building complexes being built along North Main and Spring streets. One building would have been 36 units, with 28 one bedroom and eight two-bedroom apartments. Across the street would have been the second complex, which would have been seven town houses, five with two bedrooms and two with three bedrooms. But state funding for the project never materialized and Jackson Spring eventually fell by the wayside.

Let’s not forget, either, that a lack of state funding killed an effort by Home Leasing to build more than 50 multifamily housing units along with 4,300 square feet of commercial space in the heart of Falconer in an attempt to replace buildings that were destroyed by fire. There was a lot of enthusiasm for that project – except in the halls of state government. Home Leasing eventually abandoned the project because state funding didn’t appear likely..

It’s encouraging that Dunkirk’s pledge has paid off with funding for a new apartment building. But Jamestown and Falconer have been down this path before only to see worthy projects fall apart due to a lack of state support. It’s not as if southern Chautauqua County hasn’t been trying to build new housing. Maybe swearing an oath to the state will change the south county’s fortunes.


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