Article Contributed by
Rotary Club of Jamestown, President
& Joni Blackman
When you come into Jamestown from the north on Route 60 you will notice a beautiful new sign welcoming you. It has been over 25 years in the making. Members of the Rotary Club of Jamestown, Mike Roberts and Mark Olson, worked on the project for a long time. According to Mr. Roberts, “It takes a community to build a sign, thank you to everyone who played a role in making this a reality. It is a 25-year dream come true!”
The project finally moved forward with a suggestion from former Director of Public Works, Jeff Lehman, who proposed an easement agreement to the owner of the property located at 1351 North Main St., Gary Lynn. Once that was done, the Jamestown City Planning Committee and City Council approved the project in the Fall of 2021. Lehman said, “I’m very excited to see this project come to fruition. This has been many years in the making. It was imperative to obtain property on the west side of Main Street. We must thank Gary Lynn and Lynn Development for making the property available. I also want to thank the Jamestown Rotary for their patience and funding in making this project possible.”
The Rotary Club of Jamestown celebrated its 100th Anniversary in 2019, with a desire to give the community a project that would be meaningful and memorable. They also wanted to support the City’s tourism industry. The Jamestown sign was determined to meet all the requirements.
A few of the challenges the Rotary Club had to overcome were how to pay for the project, create a design all would support and then build the team that could bring it to completion. The design group consisted of the City of Jamestown’s Ellen Shadle, Jeff Lehman and Dan Stone, Robert Nordin and Brady Morrison from CPL, a local architecture firm, Kristie Voty with Chautauqua Sign Company, and the Jamestown Rotary Club steering committee of Mike Roberts, Kevin Sixbey, John Healy and Ruth Lundin.
The design incorporates both existing local materials plus new components by Ellison Bronze and Industrial Welding & Fabricating. Each component tells a part of Jamestown’s story: two 100-year-old trusses from an old train bridge that spanned the Chadakoin River are connected at the top of the foundation of the sign. The trusses honor our city’s industrial past, now being renewed. The stone and stone cap is installed below the trusses at an angle to suggest the flow of the Chadakoin River and the rolling hills surrounding Jamestown. The paneling installed above the lettering suggests the city skyline. Finally, old city street bricks are installed as pavers around the sign. They of course were made here in Jamestown.
The fundraising started as soon as the easement problem was solved. Rotarian Kevin Sixbey led the fundraising effort with a goal of $63,500. The Rotary Club of Jamestown donated $25,200, while the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, Gebbie Foundation, Sheldon Foundation, Sheldon Directors Discretionary Grant Fund, Jessie Smith Darrah Fund and Allied Alarm awarded grants and donations totaling $38,000. This project could not have happened without the generosity of the local funders, the Rotary Club of Jamestown members and local company donations.
Ten local companies agreed to participate, each bringing their expertise to the project. They either donated their goods and services completely or worked at cost or requested reimbursement for the most expensive materials. CPL donated the design services and consulting. R. Patti Concrete & Excavating donated the site preparation and excavation. JMI donated concrete, sand and gravel. E.E. Austin & Son was the General Contractor responsible for pouring the concrete foundation, rebar and assembly of the sign components. Sivak Stonemasonry donated the labor to install the stone and brick pavers. Ellison Bronze fabricated and donated the city scape panels. Industrial Welding & Fabricating provided the steel cabinet, columns and structural support. Chautauqua Sign provided design creativity while establishing and installing the lettering. Rotarian David Painter with Ahlstrom Schaeffer Electric donated the electrical infrastructure with Gleason Enterprises providing the electrical inspections. Jamestown DPW cleared the site, donated the old train trusses and city street brick, and provided the final restoration and plantings.
Outgoing President John Healy was in the right office at the right time. Healy is a construction project manager by trade. He oversaw the entire project, from fundraising to design, through construction and the presentation.
The Ribbon Cutting
At noon on Friday, June 23rd, the City of Jamestown residents applauded the new welcome sign. The City’s Principal Planner, Ellen Shadle said, “I am over the moon that this project was provided the support it needed to be realized. This gateway sign is a salutation to travelers of all kinds to express our community pride and invite them to join us for a journey through history, hope and hospitality. Thank you, Jamestown Rotary, for stepping forward to bring this vision to life.”
John Healy, President of the Club for the 2022-23 year said, “The Rotary Club members know the sign will be a meaningful asset to the city and extends their heartfelt thanks and sincere gratitude to the City of Jamestown and all the local foundations, organizations, and people who participated in making this project a success. It was a complex and challenging project that required the expertise of everyone involved. The Rotary Club of Jamestown could not have been successful without the generosity of those who gave their time, talents, resources, and financial support to the project.”
Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist said, “First impressions are incredibly important and the design of the new Jamestown gateway sign makes for an inviting entrance into the city. With many design elements that touch on the proud history of Jamestown, I thank the Jamestown Rotary for investing in a beautiful new entrance sign into the city. This sign, along with a new sidewalk that accompanies it, helps to show that revitalization is possible when we come together to collaborate with community organizations and residents, and reflects the hard work of many who make Jamestown great.”
If you weren’t able to make it to the ribbon cutting, take a walk or drive to the edge of town by the Lake View Cemetery to see the sign. It is truly a meaningful representation of Jamestown’s proud past, hard-working present and hopeful future.