From industrial sites to more boat launches to public parks, there is an endless number of projects that could be happening along the Chadakoin River in the near future.
On Wednesday, a public meeting discussing the Jamestown Chadakoin River revitalization study was held in the auditorium of the Robert H. Jackson Center at 305 E. Fourth St. The Chadakoin River Revitalization Study is a 24-month planning effort focused on opportunities for economic development and community recreation along the Jamestown riverfront.
The city of Jamestown has completed draft documents during the implementation of three state planning grants targeted at the Chadakoin River and the properties near the river. These grants include two Brownfield opportunity area studies and a local waterfront revitalization program study. Dan Riker of LaBella Associates said the purpose of the studies are to advance the redevelopment of underutilized, abandoned or contaminated commercial and industrial sites within two designated Brownfield study areas. The purpose of the local waterfront revitalization program is to provide a framework for the revitalization of riverfront properties and to enhance connections between the river and other parts of the city.
To make the most effective and efficient use of the grant funds, the city elected to merge the separate studies into one project. As part of this important planning project, the city has sought community input at various times during the project. The meeting Wednesday was the third and final meeting in this stage of the project. During the meeting, Riker and Kailee Neuner of LaBella Associates provide a brief overview of the project scope and results of various analyses. They also discussed the possible proposed redevelopment plans that resulted from these efforts.
One area discovered in their analysis, was increasing the use of the waterfront. Riker said more restaurants and areas for artistic performances should be created downtown. For the Chadakoin around McCrea Point, increasing boat launches, adding a place to rent kayaks, improving fishing access and a nature center are possible ideas. For the downtown medical district, connecting the Jamestown Area Medical Associates building with WCA Hospital's facilities could be a future plan to make it possible for people to have one-stop shopping when seeking medical treatment.
Riker said immediate plans for the Chadakoin includes Phase 5 and 6 of the Greater Jamestown Riverwalk. Phase 5 is a trail between McCrea Point and Clifton Avenue and Phase 6 is trails through the city connecting McCrea Point to Panzarella Park near the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities facility. Phase 6 also includes, the planned Gateway Park behind the Jamestown Gateway Train Station. Gateway Park will be part of the proposed National Comedy Center being planned for West Second Street where the Jamestown Gateway Train Station and a BPU substation are currently located. The Gateway Park is an outdoor plaza area behind the train station that will include landscaping improvements and a secure railroad crossing that will connect to the Greater Jamestown Riverwalk along the Chadakoin River. Primary funding for the Gateway Park phase of the National Comedy Center development is being provided by the Gebbie Foundation and the Oishei Foundation.
Neuner said the list of possible future projects is endless along the Chadakoin River. The proposed projects were put into three categories - economic development, quality of life improvements and nature and environment projects. Economic development projects include making shovel ready sites and an industrial park. Quality of life projects include connecting the city's Riverwalk for easier access to cross through the city, which is Phase 6 of the Riverwalk project planned to be completed this year. Nature and environment projects include restructuring the Chadakoin's shoreline.
LaBella Associates is working in conjunction with the Jamestown Urban Renewal Agency and the city of Jamestown Waterfront Advisory Committee. Their efforts build upon existing plans, including the city's urban design plan. Completion of the additional planning efforts will help the city, as well as businesses and property owners in the area, with obtaining grants and financial incentives for riverfront redevelopment.
For more information, visit www.chadakoinrevitalization.com. Neuner said they are still taking public input for the plans. After the public input session is completed in about a month, the Chadakoin River revitalization study will be finalized for approval. She said a meeting is being planned for the fall to bring together city leaders, property owners and regional developers to bring Chadakoin River revitalization plans to life.