Economic development, housing, and local infrastructure are all areas that will benefit from the $28 million dollars the City of Jamestown will receive in American Rescue Plan Act Recovery Funds. Mayor Eddie Sundquist presented details of the initial Master Plan to City Council on how the funds could be utilized.
The category of economic development has $10 million allocated toward it, which Sundquist said will be transferred to the Jamestown Local Development Corporation, who will have oversight over the use and disbursement of the funds. Sundquist said examples of some projects that could be funded under economic development include investments in the Chadakoin River Basin, “This would be pooling our funding, actually, with the county and other not-for-profits to really focus on that Chadakoin River area for increased kayak launches, we’ve talked about water taxis, docking for boats and other watercraft, and really focusing on that river basin.”
Sundquist said a Programming Fund and Events Coordinator could be hired to facilitate year-round event programming in the city. He said they’re also looking at creating a receivership program, “Whereby, certain apartment complexes that need a lot of support through court action can be put under a receivership and managed by a not-for-profit. The not-for-profit would take the rents to repair the home, would divert the rents until the code violations and housing are up to standard, and then the rents would be returned back to the owner.”
Sundquist said an additional housing improvement program would make a direct investment in housing rehabilitation in conjunction with local not-for-profits in order to stabilize neighborhoods, “We all know that there are those homes that need that extra care and love that cost a lot. If we can create a program that allows for additional painting that’s not just in targeted neighborhoods. That allows our residents to tap into some of these funds to make that needed improvement, to make sure that their roof isn’t going to collapse in the next year, that their code violations are taken care of.”
Under the mental health classification, Sundquist said the City is working to create a mental health rapid response team that works with local agencies to provide on-call and in-person social workers to respond to police and emergency service calls, “We’ve already been in discussions with County Mental Hygiene, Mental Health Association, and other not-for-profits in order to allow them to work directly with the Police Department and emergency services to respond to calls where individuals may need mental health counseling, mental support, or other types of social needs.”
Sundquist said the water, sewer, and broadband funding category includes sample projects such as water main replacements, stormwater management projects, and broadband infrastructure build-out. He said the city is waiting to see how the Federal infrastructure bill plays out to see what kind of additional funds the city may be able to access.
The last category of the plan, transparency and tracking, has the proposal to hire a project manager to track projects and do the reporting required by the Federal government. It also proposes hiring a public communications person to help put out information on the projects funded through the recovery monies. Both positions would be limited to the five years funding allocation.
The Recovery Funds Master Plan is available for the public to view on the city’s website at jamestownny.gov/rescueplan/.