Jamestown's Urban Design Plan contains grand visions for the Chadakoin River.
The river, which was once Jamestown's lifeblood, is now largely a shell of its former self. Except for areas where the city has begun work on the Riverwalk, brush is overgrown to cover the remnants of decaying manufacturing buildings.
Planners envision the Chadakoin River a bit differently.
They see development along the banks of the Chadakoin with developed waterfront areas to help Jamestown capitalize on Chautauqua Lake's appeal for tourists. A Chadakoin River Basin area could serve as a significant destination, they said, with amenities along the river's banks to be spacious accessible from many areas and close enough to Main and Washington streets to connect the waterfront to downtown attractions like the Jamestown Savings Bank Arena, the renovated Jamestown Gateway Station and downtown's museums and restaurants. The plan also reiterates the need for a continuous Riverwalk that links downtown to the McCrae Point boat park and Chautauqua Lake.
The Riverwalk will meet that goal after the county received a $394,000 state grant to take the Riverwalk all the way to Lucille Ball Memorial Park in Celoron. U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer is asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to approve a $200,000 Brownfield Assessment Grant to help the city start the rest of the Chadakoin River's redevelopment.
No one truly knows right now the cost to redevelop old industrial sites along the Chadakoin, which means those sites aren't even discussed when a developer expresses interest in Jamestown. Knowing the environmental issues with these sites will allow the city to start the remediation process and open these sites for future development - a key first step toward unlocking the Chadakoin River so glowingly envisioned by the Goody Clancy planners in the Urban Design Plan. The grant is important not only to kickstart riverfront work downtown, but throughout the city since the EPA grant would pay for a study area that runs the entire length of the Chadakoin River in Jamestown.
Schumer saw firsthand the changes taking place downtown at the ribbon cutting for the renovated Jamestown Gateway Station. He has also seen firsthand the types of issues developers are dealing with along the riverfront. Perhaps his support can help the city secure the Brownfield Assessment Grant and take the first step toward the visions of Chadakoin River development promised in the Urban Design Plan.