The Chautauqua Striders Inc. board of directors and Ben Lindquist, executive director, announced plans today to relocate Striders offices from the second floor of the Jamestown YMCA at 101 E. Fourth St., Jamestown, to the ground floor of the Lynn Building at 301 E. Second St., Jamestown. The move is expected to take place later this year.
"The Striders board of directors is excited to announce our plans to relocate Striders services to the Lynn Building," said Ellen Ditonto, board president. "This decision, approved unanimously by the board, was based on extensive research by two executive directors and a dedicated group of volunteers who make up the board's Facilities Committee. The full board met and approved the plans today and we will start immediately on the renovation work that is expected to take several months."
The move comes on the heels of Infinity Performing Arts' announcement June 18 that it too would be moving into some of the space available in the Lynn Building.
P-J file photo by Gavin Paterniti
"As with other not-for-profit organizations, Striders has been asked by our funders to look for opportunities to collaborate with other groups with similar missions and audiences. We believe the opportunity to collaborate with Infinity Visual and Performing Arts, which will be moving into the same floor of the Lynn Building, is by far the very best partnership we could find. Infinity's membership is made up of student artists and performers who know the importance of maintaining excellent grades. We are thrilled to be able to open our doors and services to these students and look forward to the synergy that will occur with the co-location of these two organizations in one building," Ditonto concluded.
Lindquist, who is in his first year as executive director of Striders, took on the facilities project as one of his first endeavors.
"Over the past four-and-a-half years, our staff and Facilities Committee toured and/or seriously inquired about more than 20 locations in the downtown Jamestown area. During that time we toured a few facilities that had a majority of what we were looking for, but ultimately left us continuing our search for the perfect location. In March 2014 a conversation began with the Infinity Visual and Performing Arts organization, which also was inquiring about additional space and new locations downtown. Our combined search led us to Lynn Development LLC and the Lynn Building."
Striders is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year and has a proud history serving tens of thousands of youth over that time. Both Ditonto and Lindquist thanked the Lynn Development team for its patience and flexibility during the months leading up to today's announcement.
"We would like to thank the Lynn Development Group for an opportunity to expand our reach within the community, working within our tight budget constraints, and aiming at a common goal of better service to our program participants," they said. "As we celebrate 35 years of Chautauqua Striders programming, we are pleased to be laying the foundation for a long-term future in downtown Jamestown where we can meet the needs of a greater number of youth in the coming decades."
Chautauqua Striders is dedicated to the mentoring and guidance of youth through education, advocacy, and athletics. Originally founded in 1979 as a local track club, Chautauqua Striders has grown into a multi-faceted community organization that provides tutoring, mentoring, outreach, and athletic programs to more than 1,800 Chautauqua County youth annually. The goal of Chautauqua Striders is to help youth graduate high school inspired with the knowledge, skills, and confidence required for successful college and career experiences.
For more information about Chautauqua Striders and the programs they provide to area youth and adults, or to make a donation to the relocation project, the 35th Anniversary Campaign, or Striders programming in general, contact Striders at 488-2203 or visit www.chautaugua-striders.org.