“It may not be the right time. Sometimes it takes years and even decades for an idea to reach its point of implementation. But I think you’ve got to start talking about it at some point and we did that tonight.” – Mayor Sam Teresi
JAMESTOWN – Mayor Sam Teresi says it’s time for the greater Jamestown area to have its own four-year college.
Teresi made his comments during his 2015 State of the City address, which was delivered to the Jamestown City Council this past Monday night.
During his speech, Teresi acknowledged the contribution and role that both Jamestown Community College and Jamestown Business College have provided for the community. However, he also said higher level colleges and universities are essential in creating economic development, and it’s time Jamestown makes a push to develop a four-year school.
“Unfortunately, greater Jamestown is the single largest urban area in New York State – and the only one in the top 10 – without at least one major four year university or college and that needs to be rectified,” Teresi said during the State of the City. “During the coming years our collective voices need to be raised and our demands must be heard by those who have the ability to help us address these educational and economic development needs.”
Following his speech, WRFA asked the mayor about his call to develop a four-year college and the chances of it actually happening. Teresi said it’s an essential part of business development infrastructure in the 21st century and so, if nothing else, the conversation needs to at least get underway.
“I think that its something that we as a community [need to consider]. whether it is expanding four-year offerings at JCC or pursuing – when the time is right and the conditions are right – a possible transition of (JCC) into a four year school,” Teresi said. “It may not be the right time. Sometimes it takes years and even decades for an idea to reach its point of implementation. But I think you’ve got to start talking about it at some point and we did that tonight.”
Jamestown City Council President Greg Rabb, who’s also a Political Science Professor at JCC, agrees that more higher education opportunities need to be available in the immediate Jamestown area.
“It would help our economic development efforts if we could start offering some four-year bachelor degrees, especially in high demand professions,” Rabb said, adding, “because we’ve got a lot of people who finish their associates degree, but then it becomes a real struggle to go up to Fredonia or Bonaventure or wherever to take that next step. We ought to be making it easier and those programs should be offered on our own campus. “
As Rabb noted, there are several major universities within an hour’s drive from Jamestown, including the State University of New York at Fredonia, St. Bonaventure University in Olean, and several other colleges in Erie, Pennsylvania. Several other colleges are also found in the Buffalo region as well as in Northwestern Pennsylvania.
WRFA will provide a large portion of the mayor’s state of the city address Thursday evening during our Community Matters Program, which airs at 6 p.m.