JAMESTOWN – More than 50 people were at the Lillian V. Ney Renaissance Center in downtown Jamestown Tuesday night to participate in the first public meeting involving the future of North Main Street.
The Unite North Main project was launched last month by the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation (JRC) to improve one of the city’s busiest gateway corridors. A master plan for the first phase of the project is being conducted by Clark Patterson Lee architecture and design firm.
Associate Brian Kulpa says Tuesday’s meeting was really the starting point in an effort to collect information from the community and residents who live on or near the corridor.
“We’re tyring to figure out, ‘What do the residents, what do the business owner and what do the property owners want out of that corridor?'” Kulpa says. “We’ve teased a little about ‘What if this were a possibility?’ and we want to see where people stood on some of those items. What kind of visuals and what kind of aesthetics people want in that corridor.”
Not only did the meeting give Clark Patterson Lee an opportunity to learn what some residents would like and wouldn’t like in terms of aesthetics for the corridor, it also gave them an opportunity to offer concerns.
“I think people are maybe a little apprehensive at first, saying ‘Hey, what are we getting involved with here? Where’s this going? Where’s the money coming from?’ All those questions that are normal,” Kulpa explains. “What we want to do is, through the process, generate excitement, generate enthusiasm, but also generate trust. We really are here, not serving the head, but the rest of the body, and making sure people understand this is their neighborhood plan.”
Those in attendance were presented with more than six dozen different images dealing with everything from intersection layout to street and lamp posts designs and were given the opportunity to rate each one on a scale of 1 to 5. Residents were also invited to offer some concerns about the current corridor, which included pedestrian safety, heavy truck traffic and speeding.
Kulpa says all that information will be processed in the coming weeks. In the meantime, the agency will also be working during the winter assessing individual portions of the corridor. A second public meeting is also scheduled for February 12, when the community will be updated on the progress of the plan as well as have an opportunity to offer more input.
In addition, a website is being set up and will be launched in the coming weeks, which will also give residents a chance to learn more about the study and offer input.
The Unite North Main project is being funded by grants from the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, the Ralph C. Sheldon Foundation, Northwest Savings Bank, and the Chautauqua County Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization Trust Fund.