At a recent meeting of the Rotary Club of Jamestown, members were treated to a presentation by Mike Goldman, who has lived in Jamestown for 37 years.
Goldman serves on the board of The Resource Center, Downtown Jamestown Development Corporation and Lutheran, as well as serving as attorney for the Jamestown Gateway Station.
Goldman's presentation highlighted the newly renovated Jamestown Gateway Station. In 1997, community officials assembled a group of forward thinkers to work on securing funding to renovate the neglected train station. Lee Harkness, who joined DJDC in 2003, initially moved the effort forward. In 2008, the city was able to obtain state and Federal Transportation Authority funding. As a result of the secured funding, a design began to take shape that would focus the renovation.
From left are John Lloyd, program committee chair for March, with Mike Goldman and Sharon Hamilton, Rotary Club of Jamestown president.
By 2009 it became evident that there was a funding gap between the grants and work that needed to be completed. Tom Benson, president of the The Vineyard Group, began working on finding additional needed funding. Tax credits were sold and the Gebbie Foundation also provided financial resources. Together, these bridged the $3 million funding gap.
In 2009, a Limited Liability Company (LLC) was formed with the DJDC, the City of Jamestown and the Gebbie Foundation. People from those three organizations are responsible for this formed LLC. Goldman noted that the work done between 2009 and 2012 was amazing. Everyone pulled together to overcome multiple hurdles.
The Federal Transit Authority required certain transportation components as part of it's funding:
The train station must be a CARTS central station, and
The center space will always remain public.
When the Jamestown Train Station was finally completed in October 2012, Harkness became manager. In 2013, there were 76 events with 15,000 people attending. In 2014 there are already 37 events booked. Harkness has developed an excellent relationship with the railroads. Thanks to the Gebbie Foundation and the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, the train station has become a destination and it continues to focus on the railroad.
May and December 2013 had two train-themed events that will return again this year, and a Buffalo Bill Cody Family Reunion is to be held in July. Teddy Roosevelt was a friend of Buffalo Bill, so his family has also been invited. Additionally, on May 3 it was announced in The Post-Journal that the Center for Comedy will be a part of the Train Station complex.