JAMESTOWN – Four target area neighborhoods have been identified as the focus for any new strategies needed to help shore up housing value and market stability in Jamestown.
The Jamestown Renaissance Corporation shared details of its recently completed Housing Market Analysis and Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Review report with members of the Jamestown City Council’s housing committee on Monday night.
Representatives from the JRC went over the report prepared by Peter Lombardi from czb LLC, which offered details on the impact recent intervention programs had on target neighborhoods over a five-year period, as well as what new neighborhoods should be focused on during the next several years.
Examples of intervention programs include the Renaissance Block Challenge, the GROW Jamestown gardening and landscape program, and the establishment of Lakeview Ave. as a state and nationally recognized historic district. Each effort was largely funded by a combination of $1.25 million in program funding from the JRC ($350,000) and private investments by the property owners ($900,000).
According to the report, the neighborhoods that benefited from intensive intervention saw the average sale price of a single-family home increase by 5 percent. However, homes in neighborhoods that saw intermediate or only a small amount of intervention saw the average sale price go down by 13 percent. The average sale for homes in neighborhoods that didn’t get any intervention saw an increase of just under 2 percent.
As a result of the study findings, the JRC said it’s next round of intervention programs will focus on four neighborhoods in the city where there is a strong market area located next to a soft or very week housing market area: The Northside/Lakeview Focus Area; the Western Gateway Focus Area; the Hazeltine/Forest Focus Area; and the Allen Park/Hospital Focus Area.
Some individuals in attendance raised questions about the report, as well as the conclusion that further investment should be provided in areas where there is a strong housing market. Patrick Morris, executive director of CODE, questioned why the funding isn’t being applied exclusively to neighborhoods that have seen housing prices decline, rather than also using the money in areas that have stability or seen a market increase.
“Our goal is to get the best value for the money we invest in a broader sense,” explained JRC board member Leonard Faulk. “One focus that we have is how do you develop an increased tax base? Part of our goal is how to we get people to have more confidence in the future so they are willing to invest more of their own money in housing improvements. That’s why we focus on areas where property owners can also invest their own money, instead of areas where property owners have little to no money to invest.”
Another attendee questioned the return on investment, considering more than $1.25 million in total investment had been made in the past target areas, with the 5 percent increase in housing prices in only some of the targeted areas being the final result, while other areas that saw a lesser amount of investment actually saw a decrease in housing prices.
Due to time constraints, a thorough discussion on the impact of the programs couldn’t take place. However, the report will also be presented to the full city council at an upcoming work session.
The JRC will be also be posting the housing report at jamestownrenaissance.org.