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CARTS gets OK to purchase current Jamestown location

OBSERVER Photo by Gregory Bacon The county is using grant funds to purchase 215 E. Third St., Jamestown, where CARTS has been operating out of since 2018.

The Chautauqua Area Regional Transit System has been renting 215 E. Third St., Jamestown, since 2018.

Before that, CARTS has had several locations around the city. Now it gets to buy its location.

During the Public Facilities Committee meeting last week, Brad Bentley, county Department of Public Facilities director, shared that both the county and customers like its current location.

“It’s got off-street parking for our buses,” he said. “We’ve stayed there. We’ve not had a single day of interruption at our location since we’ve been there. The most important feature of public transportation is to know where to go get it every day.”

CARTS is currently using a temporary license agreement, but Bentley noted that they wanted to make that location permanent. “It’s across from City Hall’s public services, it’s next to some of the public housing, it’s next to the south county office building, it’s close to the tourism aspect,” he said.

About six months ago, the owner decided to put the property up for sale. Bentley said at first he wasn’t sure if they could purchase it, however, they were able to find some grant funding from the state. “It’s 100% grant funded, no local share,” he said.

The fact that the county does not have to use local dollars to purchase it played an important part for Legislator Chuck Nazzaro, D-Jamestown. “This is a good use of grant funds. It is 100 percent grant funded, no local share, and if we did not accept this grant, it would go outside of our community,” he said during Wednesday’s county legislature meeting.

Nazzaro noted it is important that CARTS is available during the pandemic. “I do consider this an essential service to residents,” he said. “With the pandemic that we’re currently experiencing, public transportation is critical for our citizens to get to their doctor appointments, to go to the grocery store, and to buy the things they need.”

The legislature agreed to accept $160,000 from the state Department of Transportation for the purchase of the location. GPatti Third LLC is selling the property to the county for $152,000. The county also has to do a state Environmental Quality Review of the facility.

Bentley told the Public Facilities Committee, eventually they want to rehabilitate the building, put in a visitor’s center, and create an incubator for start-up businesses. He added that the city of Jamestown has agreed to use some of its Community Development Block Grant funds for the building. The Jamestown Urban Renewal Agency will also be involved in the site’s renovation.

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