Mental health funding and recreation opportunities topped the list of concerns and wishes at the third input session on the City of Jamestown’s draft plan of how to spend over $28 million dollars in American Rescue Funds. Over 20 people attended the session last night at The Chautauqua Center, including five city council members.
Resident Sarah Gilbert, who also works at the Chautauqua Center, questioned the sustainability of the mental health rapid response unit proposed and whether there was enough money set aside for that effort, “You can create this awesome program as well as the receivership program, which is so needed, but if it only lasts one year, or just goes a couple years and it’s just starting to get momentum and then it drops out, we would all hate to see that. In terms of the mental health services, I just want to put on the record that this is like a mental health professional shortage area.”
Gilbert said TCC lost 6 out of 8 counselors during the Pandemic and she sees a need to recruit using incentives and good salaries.
Jamestown Public Market Director Linnea Carlson also asked about the sustainability of the mental health response unit and how an organization would be chosen. Mayor Eddie Sundquist responded that a bid process would be used to select who would run the Rapid Response Unit program.
Carlson also urged investment in the Willard Street Playground, located at Willard and Tower Streets, “There was, as you know Mayor, an EPA study done in 2017 that brought the community together and they identified revitalizing that park as the top priority for that local food place initiative. And I know we can invest in all our parks and make them better but this park is sad. It’s so sad!”
The Public Market uses the Willard Street Playground as a Mobile Market location on Thursdays.
Several other recreation facilities were suggested by attendees including investment in the new Jamestown YMCA that’s proposed for Harrison Street, a municipal youth golf course, and a community center that could hold track and field activities in the winter.
The last in the public input sessions will be held at 7pm, Thursday, July 29th at the Emmanuel Baptist Church on 23rd Street. Mayor Sundquist said the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, who is helping facilitate the sessions, will then compile all the input that will be presented to City Council in a couple weeks. At that time, changes, if desired, will be made to the city’s draft plan.