Why I Chose This City

When I came back to Jamestown a few years ago to start my law career, I constantly heard people say “There is nothing for me in Jamestown” or “Why would I settle for small town life.”

It was a choice to return to my roots and be closer to my family, but I found myself defending our City and the incredible area we live in.

The truth is Jamestown is only as good as the people that chose to thrive and develop our community. It is a safe place where you can afford to raise a family. A city on the cusp of economic growth, a city filled with opportunity that needs just a little push.

As you walk through our neighborhoods and parks, you may see run down homes and dangerous streets, but I see something far greater. I see a chance for us to revitalize a housing stock from the 1800s through public-private partnerships and a focus on building (and rebuilding) homes in our city. I see a greater collaboration with our community and our police force to continue to keep our neighborhoods and streets safe.

You may see abandoned factories, worn down by time and neglect, as eyesores and signs of decay. I see an opportunity to retrofit those buildings to make Jamestown into a technology hub, both internet and manufacturing based, attracting workers from across the country to live, work, and play in a beautiful location and at a reasonable cost of living. I also see spaces for small business owners to set up shop and create a real renaissance in our city, together with entrepreneurs, musicians, and artists who are already leading the charge.

Grand plans often come with high risks and big costs, and with a financially strapped city, it is no question that we need to focus on revenue and balancing costs. Our city has always become innovative when times are tough. In the 1800s, we developed unique ice harvesting techniques to keep food cool. When we needed to power our city, we got creative and built an electric plant. When we realized we had an abundance of wood, we became the furniture capital of the world. Now is the time to examine what we have, get creative, and put Jamestown back on the map.

When we send the best and brightest of our Jamestown graduates off into the world to pursue an education, start a business venture, or learn a trade, it is no secret we want them to succeed. But, we also want them to come back to Jamestown. I came back because I recognize the opportunity and potential here. In these times, our community is a diamond in the rough, a small city with resources of water, agricultural land, and interstate transport. The more I heard people saying that Jamestown has nothing for them, the sooner I decided it was time to start doing something about it.

Eddie Sundquist is a Jamestown attorney and former educator. He is running for Mayor of the City of Jamestown.