According to the plan approved by the state, $600,000 was set aside to help coordinate and supplement local efforts to provide All-Season programming to attract people to Downtown Jamestown. A Downtown Programming Fund was set up to hold the money, with the Jamestown Local Development Corporation serving as the agency to recommend how it would be spent down, with the state giving final authorization.
In 2019, over half the money was allocated to ten different events designed to attract visitors to the downtown:
- Buffalo Philharmonic/Queen Concert at Reg Lenna – $50,000
- NCC Presents John Mulvaney at Northwest Arena – $50,000
- Robert H. Jackson Center Presents Bob Wodward at Reg Lenna – $50,000
- Reg Lenna Beer and Wine Festival on E. 3rd Street – $35,000
- Best Day Ever throughout Downtown Jamestown – $31,850
- Spire Music Festival at The Spire – $30,000
- Emmanuel Baptist Church Presents Gospel Explosion at Reg Lenna – $25,312
- NBL Super Grands Karate Tournament at Northwest Arena – $25,000
- Guster Concert at Reg Lenna – $17,500
- Whirlybird Music festival throughout Downtown Jamestown – $5,000
- Total: $319,662
The city also allocated $60,000 from the fund to cover administrative costs for processing funding applications. As a result, an estimated $220,000 still remains.
The remaining money was intended to be spent down this year, with a deadline of December 2020 imposed by the state. However, due to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic and the uncertainty of when public gatherings can resume, City Development Director Crystal Surdyk informed WRFA late last week the state will grant an extension on spending the money, but has also challenged the city to consider reprogramming the remaining funds because of the unknowns with regard to events for the foreseeable future.
It’s not the first time a portion of the DRI money has to be reallocated. In February, Surdyk announced the state had directed the city to allocate $670,000 in DRI funding that was earmarked for an excursion train infrastructure project. She said because the excursion train and depot project has stalled, the project is no longer eligible to receive DRI funding. That money was instead reallocated to other projects on the DRI award list, including the Riverwalk illumination project and improving city streetscapes.
Surdyk said she will bring a recommendation on how to use the remaining downtown programming fund before the city council in the near future.