Public investment spurs private business growth

When Governor Kathy Hochul came to Dunkirk this past week to announce a $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative award for the city, almost every public official who addressed the overflow crowd called the announcement “a game-changer.” They are not wrong. We have seen firsthand how the DRI investment in Jamestown helped to develop attractions and opportunities for visitors and residents alike, and on the heels of those projects numerous small businesses have opened their doors in downtown Jamestown, breathing new life into the city and its economy. Now, the same thing can happen for Dunkirk.

The City of Dunkirk DRI application called for a variety of projects including an indoor waterpark, renovations and upgrades to the Clarion Hotel/Steelbound, major improvements to the city marina, and a substantial facelift for Central Avenue that calls for turning some long-vacant buildings into new and beautiful spaces for mixed-use commercial and residential opportunities that will create a walkable downtown corridor. All of these projects will have to be approved as part of the process, but just to bring them to light conjures images of a thriving downtown Dunkirk that will attract local residents as well as tourists.

Success breeds success. We have seen over and over again how this happens. One or two projects in a community will take hold, and soon other private investment follows suit. Where there are attractions and services, small restaurants and retailers begin to crop up. These types of small businesses are seeking high-traffic zones where residents and tourists are gathering. It creates a natural environment for consumers and diners.

In 2016, Jamestown was selected as one of the first communities statewide to receive the DRI award. The objectives were to create a place where businesses want to locate, support smart growth and strengthen existing mixed-use development, and to leverage cultural and natural assets to create a cohesive Downtown experience and boost visitation. While the DRI-driven projects moved forward, we also saw a number of individuals making private investment into downtown Jamestown as a place for commerce: offering new shopping, dining, and office experiences. It’s a great example of how public funding can influence private growth.

We look forward to new and exciting projects unfolding in Dunkirk as the Downtown Revitalization Initiative plan comes to fruition, helping this waterfront gem of a community to launch an economic rebirth.


Today is the day for Doors Open Jamestown! Sixteen local attractions are participating, along with 21 local businesses. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, January 28.

Launched many years ago to encourage local people to visit the numerous museums and attractions available in the community, in a time that is normally a slow tourism season, Doors Open Jamestown has become a highly anticipated day for the participating organizations as well as for their guests. Our region is fortunate to be the home of so many extraordinary attractions, and many of them are in the immediate Jamestown area. The attractions feature something for everyone including art, nature, sports, theater, history, and more. These amazing facilities look forward to this incredible open house day as they welcome area residents to see what they have to offer: Audubon Community Nature Center, Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame, DAR House, Infinity Visual and Performing Arts Center, James Prendergast Library, Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum, Lucile M. Wright Air Museum, Lucille Ball Little Theatre of Jamestown, Martz-Kohl Observatory, Marvin Community House, National Comedy Center, Northwest Arena, Pearl City Clay House, Reg Lenna Center for the Arts, Robert H. Jackson Center, Roger Tory Peterson Institute. The National Comedy Center and Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum require pre-registration with additional details to be posted on their website. Northwest Arena will offer free public skating from 1-3pm (skate rental fees apply).

The Chamber of Commerce is running a Doors Open Jamestown text contest at all participating attractions, and at several local businesses that have chosen to participate. Look for text contest instructions at each venue and find more information online at www.jtny.events. Contest prizes include items donated by all the local participating attractions.


The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce will hold its first Business After Hours event for 2023 on Thursday, March 16 at The Green Door Tavern, Route 430, Bemus Point. Business After Hours is a Chamber networking event that runs from 5-6:30pm. It’s designed to let local businesspeople meet in a comfortable setting, enjoy some appetizers and a cash bar, and provide a little information about their business or organization. Each Chamber member business can send two people at no cost to each Business After Hours. Any employees above the two-person limit, or non-members, are welcome at $10 each. Advanced registration is not required, but is requested for our planning purposes. You can sign up now through the Chamber’s web calendar at www.chautauquachamber.org. This Business After Hours event is sponsored by The Green Door Tavern, Media One Radio Group, The Post-Journal, and OBSERVER. Additional Business After Hours events will be announced throughout the year.


Be part of one of the largest annual events in Chautauqua County! The Mayville-Chautauqua Community Chamber’s Winter Festival Committee is looking for volunteers.

The Mayville Winter Festival is President’s Day Weekend, February 17-19. People are needed to help park cars, assist with setup and tear-down, and help staff some of the activities.

If you can spend a little time helping out, contact Coordinator Shannon Biekarck at sbiekarck@chqchamber.org.


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