2014 Vision for Jamestown’s Community, Recreational
& Cultural Arts Needs
The recent decision to place the PAC on the market for sale has prompted an internal evaluation of the value of this property to the community and the Town’s ability to deliver services. This assessment has led to the development of a vision that involves several town properties and several ongoing projects presently under consideration by the Council. In brief, I outline this vision and request the Council consider a public work session on the subject to discuss and evaluate this proposal in greater detail and to assess interest within the community to preserve this important Jamestown asset.
This proposal and vision includes the following discussion points and possible actions.
- Begin the process of negotiation to assess if arrangements can be made to secure the PAC property as a future town asset.
- If secured, plans would be put into motion for the Town’s Recreation Department to relocate to this site which over the next several years would evolve into a multi-faceted recreation center, designed to provide for programming and services for all ages and needs within the community.
- The existing community center (or former United Service Organizations facility (USO) would remain as a Leisure Services facility owned and managed by the Town, although its focus would change to accommodate both public and private events, as well as community-based events, performances and programs. After a period of evaluation, consideration would be given to restructure the management model for this facility, to support the creation of an enterprise fund, allowing for the facility to become sustainable in supporting its own annual operating program. The formation of a public/private partnership would be an option to secure the resources necessary to restore the facility to meet its original purpose as a USO facility, although now equipped to service the needs of today’s and future Jamestown residents.
- To provide for the funding to secure the facility, the ongoing planning for the development of a new Golf Course Clubhouse and multi-purpose second floor space, similar to what previously existed, would be downsized, to accommodate the basic needs of a new golf clubhouse and equipment support facility. This restructuring will reduce the financial obligation for this project allowing for a shift in the debt service to fund the acquisition of the PAC property, thus not requiring an increase in the overall proposed debt service requirements as has been planned for discussion in the upcoming FY2015-16 budget process.
- The Town is continuing to move forward with the Fire Department expansion project with the bid proposals for the architectural and engineering services before the Council at the October 6, 2014 regular meeting for consideration. With the continued progress and eventual completion of this project, the Town’s EMS facility within the next two years will become vacant, allowing the opportunity for it to be repurposed, sold or a conversion of a portion of the property to an alternate use, like public parking.
Any such change will allow for a reassessment and balancing of public interests and the annual costs associated with the maintenance and management of the existing Towns asset inventory. Customarily the Town would engage in a more long-term discussion and planning process associated with such large-scale program and facility planning, although this opportunity just recently presented itself for community consideration. In my opinion, based on the nature of this property, there are few alternatives uses that will preserve this community structure from demolition and support the idea of long-term community use.
I remain encouraged that the community finds itself at a point in time where it can consider timely action regarding the PAC opportunity, and integrate this topic into a much broader long-term discussion of community needs, services and valued assets.