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Reinvention Of JRC

The Jamestown Renaissance Corporation (JRC) Board of Directors announces a reorganization effective immediately, incorporating streamlining and strengthening of functions with an even closer collaboration and integration with its partners, including the sharing of space in the City’s Department of Development.

The JRC was initially established in 2006 as a public-private partnership to implement the first Urban Design Plan (UDP) and was considered a unique way to partner with the government to begin a systematic process of revitalization which had the benefit of wide community input. The Urban Design Plan was a collaborative project of the city, the Gebbie, Lenna and Chautauqua Region Community foundations. Encouragement and assistance from the Downtown Jamestown Development Corporation, City Council and the city’s Strategic Planning and Partnerships Commission made it possible.

From the outset, the partnership of the city and the community leadership was both symbolic and operational in that the co-chairs of JRC are the Mayor of Jamestown and an elected community leader – true shared leadership. Through the years, additional studies were undertaken and adopted by JRC, all to further the mission, goals and objectives of the organization, and all for the purpose of making positive contributions to the city. In 2010, a Neighborhood Plan (Reinvesting in Itself: Report to the City of Jamestown) was performed, and along with the Urban Design Plan, was added as another driver to JRC’s work. Ongoing funding has been primarily provided by the Gebbie, Sheldon, Lenna, and Johnson foundations, along with state of New York and the city.

The drivers of the “reinvention” of the JRC are numerous, but certainly include the current and projected financial situation, anticipated because of the economic downturn seemingly caused by the pandemic the world is experiencing, and which will likely have prolonged effects. The board has used the down time caused by the “lockdown” to seriously evaluate the organization and evaluate ways to ensure continued existence and effectiveness. JRC seeks cost savings and a leaner organization; planned strategies include sharing space and equipment when feasible and combined planning and project execution. Making a further streamlined organization is clearly necessary because of more limited funds. And the opportunity to work more closely on a day-to-day basis with our major partner, the city, will have the benefit of synergies of efforts and greater collaboration.

The JRC board is grateful to all our staff, including those who served in the past, for their commitment, dedication and hard work towards the revitalization of Jamestown, the downtown and the neighborhoods. Much has been accomplished over the years, and clear and definite improvements have been made, which are noticeable and most appreciated. The positive work of the JRC so far has set the stage for the next iteration, which will evolve over time, but which will exist to further the renaissance of our hometown.

The Jamestown Renaissance Corporation Board of Directors is comprised of Kristofer Sellstrom, co-chair; Mayor Eddie Sundquist, co-chair; Tory Irgang, vice-chair; Dr. Lillian Vitanza Ney, secretary; Kristy Zabrodsky, treasurer; Rod Drake, Dr. Len Faulk, the Rev. Luke Fodor, Kristin Lee Yaw, Greg Rabb, Crystal Surdyk, Randy Sweeney and Melissa Uber.

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