JAMESTOWN – Mayor Sam Teresi delivered his 2017 State of the City message to the Jamestown City Council and members of the press on Monday night. However, just like last year, the mayor decided not to read the State of the City message to the council, and instead delivered a short statement thanking the employees who work for the city before presenting council members with the State of the City document.
Much of the message provided a recap of the accomplishments of 2016 while also focusing on several initiatives for the new year. Following Monday night’s council meeting, the mayor spoke to the media and also acknowledged the challenges the city is currently facing.
“It was a difficult year filled with challenges, but I think the successes and opportunities outweighed the challenges and the setbacks that we had during the year,” The mayor said. “Overall, 2016 was a solid year, a strong year, and we have a pretty ambitious agenda ahead of us for 2017.”
Among the items on the agenda for 2017 is to continue to look toward economic development, with the help of the $10 million in Downtown Revitalization Initiative money that was awarded to the city by the state last summer.
“The time frame on that is the local planning committee will be wrapping up their proposals in the next few weeks. The consulting team will then have until March 1 to ship that off to Empire State Development, the Department of state, the Division of Homes and Community Renewal, and of course the governor’s office, to review our proposal as well as the proposals of the nine other DRI cities across the state,” Teresi said, adding that the city is also anxiously awaiting to start redevelopment of the Key Bank building at the intersection of Second and N. Main Streets. “We’re also looking forward to that $500,000 Restore New York Grant to plug in one of the redevelopment pieces into the former Key Bank redevelopment project.”
The mayor also said he wants to see the city tackle the poverty issue by working toward providing new jobs and a better educated workforce. To that end he’s hoping the current Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative the city is involved with will help to create new education opportunities and collaborations with Jamestown Public Schools.
“Some of us feel that the best poverty reduction initiative is jobs being created, and you can’t have jobs being created in a local economy unless you have the educational infrastructure in place, and that starts with improving our graduation rate at the high school level. Creating other collegiate continuing educational opportunities for our merging workforce through JCC and JBC, and training to trade unions and other apprentice programs.
The mayor said the city will also continue to focus on tackling the drug epidemic, by working with and promoting new and enhanced outpatient services at UPMC ChautauquaWCA and other health organization.
And the city will also continue to work toward identifying efficiencies and shared service opportunities to help reduce costs. This includes a possible inter-municipal agreement with the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s office regarding a public safety consolidation effort with the Jamestown Police Department.
A complete copy of the mayor’s state of the city message can be found online at the city website www.JamestownNY.net.
WRFA will also talk more with the mayor about the State of the City message during our February interview, to be broadcast on Thursday, Feb. 9 at 5 p.m. on Community Matters.