Downtown Jamestown wins $10 million in state competition

Aug 19, 2016

With its array of historic buildings, the crumbling landscape of downtown Jamestown offers poignant reminders of a small city that was once a jewel of the Northeast.  State officials hope a $10 million award from the Downtown Revitalization Initiative will help restore some of that glory. 

Officials say Jamestown can claim the second largest development footprint of any downtown in WNY.
Credit Jamestown

Howard Zemsky, Empire State Development President, appeared in Jamestown Thursday to make the announcement.

"Through collaboration with state and local officials, we are investing in the region's strengths to build a bustling downtown and show everyone that Jamestown is a thriving community to live and work," Zemsky offered in a press release.

The city's downtown consists of 100 buildings, covering 30 blocks. While some structures show signs of neglect, offering a reminder of the economic blight that has ravaged Upstate cities, the ambitious designs reveal a once-thriving community.

A fierce competition for the Downtown Restoration Initiative ensued after Governor Andrew Cuomo outlined the plan during his State of the State Address. He recently said 120 communities applied for the grants.

The Initiative sought towns and cities that have "assets" and have been "overlooked in the economic prosperity," Cuomo said. 

"Give us a plan that brings back that downtown vibrancy and we will award the best plans that we get up to $10 million."

Local and state officials celebrated the announcement. They cite the emergence of the National Comedy Center as an example of what can be achieved in Jamestown. The funds, they say, will go toward renovating historic landmarks and updating infrastructure.