JAMESTOWN – The marquee at the Reg Lenna will shine a little brighter, a new mural will appear at Infinity Arts, and several downtown facades will be refurbished as a result of the Downtown Renaissance Block Challenge, a new program administered by the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation (JRC).
In all, twelve projects in three well-defined clusters have been approved under the program, representing over $400,000 in new downtown investment. JRC, with support from the Gebbie Foundation, will provide $145,000 in matching grants to support the work.
In the past, the JRC has worked with property owners on a case-by-case basis to improve the facades and interiors of over 20 buildings. Under the new program, projects need to be clustered together to maximize the impact of investment and build confidence. This year, merchants and property owners were asked to talk to each other, identify project clusters, and submit an application.
Jim Goodling, Downtown Project Associate for JRC, praised the downtown community for responding so well to the program. He said the JRC staff was uncertain how property owners would respond to working with their neighbors when this program was announced,, but the number of projects proposed clearly shows that people are very willing to work together to improve downtown Jamestown.
Three clusters of projects were awarded funds. The first is a group of three buildings on North Main Street near the intersection with first street. The second cluster involves buildings owned by Brian and Shayleen Taylor near the intersection of Second and Main Streets. The final cluster of buildings on East 2nd and 3rd Streets and includes renovations to the Reg Lenna Civic Center and Mariner’s Pier Express Restaurant, as well as an art mural project at Infinity Visual and Performing Arts. Major façade renovations will also be made to Dugan’s Tavern and the Hall and Piazza Law building.
Work on most of the projects should be completed by the end of 2013. Some work has already begun.