City of Jamestown, New York, Jamestown, NY
Tapping the power of the Chadakoin River riverfront as a community catalyst
Goody Clancy created an urban design and economic development plan to strengthen Jamestown’s quality of life and rebuild its economy. The Plan created a unified policy framework for guiding downtown initiatives with consistent support from the governmental, civic, foundation, and community partners who shaped it. An unprecedented level of public engagement changed “minds and hearts,” and converted skeptics about the potential for the City to change downtown’s trajectory.
The Plan’s clear consensus and roadmap for downtown has been highly effective in advancing unprecedented levels of change within the area. Jamestown is increasingly recognized by the state as a model for revitalization to be emulated by other upstate communities, and Goody Clancy has continued to work with Jamestown over the last 10 years on implementation of the Plan, most recently in 2016. Jamestown is a small city with a population of approximately 30,000 located 60 miles west of Buffalo, NY that underwent a significant disinvestment over decades. Major achievements of the plan and implementation include:
- New Catalyst Destination: Developed a concept and secured funding to establish a National Comedy Center in Jamestown, a catalyst attraction linking downtown and the riverfront and leveraging the City’s heritage as the birthplace of comedy legend Lucille Ball (currently under construction; projected completion in 2018).
- Transformation of Chadakoin Riverfront: Reclaimed an abandoned riverfront as parkland and established over 25,550 feet of Riverwalk Trail. The new National Comedy Center Park will serve as a trailhead for the Riverfront and as a location for public events, like programming and festivals, and two pedestrian bridges.
- New look for Main Streets: Facade improvement program reached 36 facades in the two years after plan adoption.
- Mixed Use Development: Major projects envisioned by the Plan framework have been completed: an unpaved surface parking lot in the West End is a mixed-use project; a vacant former downtown department store on a key downtown corner is now the Jamestown Renaissance Center; and the reuse and renovation of a vacant former train station as a multimodal transportation center and the National Comedy Center.
- Historic Preservation: In 2014, Downtown Jamestown was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, providing not only recognition of the intrinsic value of historic downtown as identified in the Plan, but also making the area eligible for historic tax credits as a redevelopment tool.
- Public Infrastructure: The City has moved to make key, sequential public infrastructure investments necessary to achieve the vision of the Plan.
In 2018 and 2019, Goody Clancy helped Jamestown create a new plan, Jamestown Urban Design Plan 2.0, to plan for the next decade of downtown revitalization. The plan advances new ideas that build Jamestown’s accomplishments implementing the first plan, including continuing the renewal of the Chadakoin Riverfront, focusing investment on first floor uses and walkability in downtown, and expanding community events and programs that make downtown a destination for the region. A fourth theme—to recognize and shape the potential of an emerging health and wellness district as a part of downtown—offers a chance to integrate this regional economic engine into the broader downtown neighborhood.