Strategic Planning & Partnerships Commission Proceedings by Authority
State of New York,
City of Jamestown ss.:
Police Training Room
The regular meeting of the Strategic Planning & Partnerships Commission of the City of Jamestown, New York was held on Thursday, April 19, 2018 at 8:30 A.M in the Mayor’s Conference Room, City Hall.
Members Present: Co-Chairman Greg Rabb, Co-Chairwoman Kathleen Eads, Paul Leone, Cory Duckworth, Mike Haines, Marie Carrubba
Others Present: Rochelle Mole, Steve Sandberg, Vince DeJoy, Andrew Liuzzo, Tina Scott
Ms. Eads: It looks like we do not have a quorum, so we will skip the minutes for now. We have a guest speaker today; Vince DeJoy, Director of Development for the city of Jamestown. I just have one topic of conversation afterwards which will be about the May meeting, so we might be short and sweet today. Vince, would you like to present the wayfinding plan?
Mr. DeJoy: It’s the CMAQ plan. It’s the congestion mitigation plan. That was the basis of obtaining this grant that was bestowed upon the city for $400,000.00 with a $100,000.00 match from the Gebbie Foundation. Basically, it was looking forward to what we hope will be with over 100,000 visitors coming to Jamestown every year for the National Comedy Center and all the other good things that are happening in Jamestown given the DRI and all the additional development and the National Comedy Center was one that is kind of driving this process as to how we’re going to implement part of this plan. One of the things that was brought out, it was part of the AECOM study that looked at the National Comedy Center in terms of projected numbers and what we have in place here to accommodate those visitors and in many of the plans, it was basically stated that there’s enough parking, but people that live here have been saying, where are people going to park for the National Comedy Center. I think it’s a very good question. This study will help, at least identify – we know where the parking is, but how are we going to get people to the National Comedy Center and other attractions on the east side of downtown in a coordinated fashion. I’m going to pass these around.
I mentioned that the basis for this grant is congestion mitigation. What the DOT was looking for, was a plan as to how do we, when people are coming to Jamestown, visitors are coming, or even people that live here, how do we get them from not continuously driving around looking for parking spaces which creates additional pollution and wasting gas and so forth. There are two strategies that we’re going to be utilizing here that we hope will help to direct visitors and tourists and even locals to the parking and to the attractions. We have hired the Bergmann Associates out of Rochester to be the consultant. With their traffic engineers, they’ve done other studies, similar studies in Jamestown previously. They know Jamestown and they’re going to come up with the actual plan that will be implemented. As I mentioned, there are two components; one is the wayfinding. How do we direct people as they’re entering the various gateways into Jamestown, whether it’s North Main, coming over Route 430, which is Washington Street. As you know we got the DOT to change the signage on Interstate 86 on Strunk Road pointing to Jamestown. We prefer those travelers coming from the west towards Jamestown, would utilize that Strunk Road/ Route 430 Jamestown exit, coming into Jamestown. It’s a four-lane road for the most part on Washington Street, would alleviate some congestion on North Main Street and calm down traffic there. We’re looking for other ways to calm traffic on Washington Street; even though it’s a very important corridor for commerce. You see a lot of trucks coming down that north/south, especially fuel tankers coming from Warren or a lot of delivery trucks servicing Wegmans and Kmart and Walmart and so forth out in West Ellicott and the Lakewood area.
What we have come up with; first, we wanted to utilize a scheme that would be familiar and since we already have a branding study in place, Up Close and Wonderful with Jamestown, we thought that we would utilize that brand for the signage. There are going to be two different types of signage packages that will be implemented in this plan. One is going to be for the vehicular wayfinding and the second is the pedestrian wayfinding signage. So, there will be signage directing people to the various attractions that have been identified; not really any commercial, private businesses. There’s not going to be signage pointing to the Doubletree or other hotels and restaurants and so forth. Mostly public type of space; nonprofit, comedy center, the Reg, parking garages, the Jackson Center, the Riverwalk and other type of public attractions.
Mr. Leone: RTPI?
Mr. DeJoy: RTPI, but there’s not going to be signage that’s going to bring them all the way down there. It’s just going to be an arrow pointing in that direction. There’s not going to be as much in that respect because it’s not within this corridor or where we’re trying to mitigate congestion.
Mr. Leone: So, it will be up to them to make sure visitors know how to get there, once they’re in the vicinity. It’s not – if you didn’t know it was there, you wouldn’t know.
Mr. DeJoy: True. Again, this is basically going to point them in that direction, it’s not going to be a breadcrumb trail to RTPI. That’s the best we can do. It’s a tremendous amount of money to put all this signage in. Also, the consultant feels that the pedestrian level wayfinding is very important too.
On the second page, you will see, basically, some of the locations that initially have been planned. The idea is, once they come in the corridors; the North Main or coming from the south from Route 60 from Warren, coming from the west; either off the interstate or coming off Fairmount Avenue, as we know a lot of people that visit the lake likely visit Fairmount Avenue, especially Wegmans, you see them there all the time and we want to give them somewhat of a breadcrumb trail coming into the city and let them know what the attractions are so that they can navigate their way through downtown and easily discern where the parking is. There will also be a strong effort, and it’s not really shown here other than those pedestrian area signs, because we haven’t seen any designs, but we want to really make all the parking, public parking areas, apparent. Whether they’re surface lots or parking ramps; perhaps some big, vertical signage or banners saying parking, so that people see it. Look across the street; there’s very little that identifies it to people that are not familiar with the area that that’s a parking ramp. It looks like a parking structure, but seeing it from afar, it’s a little difficult to discern that that’s where the parking is. There’s going to be an effort to identify those areas.
Ms. Carrubba: When do you anticipate this to be completed?
Mr. DeJoy: Well, there’s been a little wrinkle here and I’ll let you know what that is. In the recent week or so, we’ve had a request from Tom Benson, representing the National Comedy Center, to the city to consider changing West Second Street from Washington Street to two-way traffic. The city doesn’t have the authority to do that; it’s coming off a state highway, Washington Street. There are some challenges that need to be overcome, especially with the Washington Street Bridge; turning left off the Washington Street Bridge, because there’s only one lane going north on Washington Street.
Ms. Carrubba: And look at the traffic right now on Main Street; because that’s been the complaint is that traffic is backed up all the way to Forest Avenue.
Mr. DeJoy: And that has to do with some signal light synchronization. There is an issue that was by one of the contractors working in front of the comedy center that severed a cable and I think it threw off the whole synchronization, but I think that will hopefully be remedied here soon.
Ms. Carrubba: Right, but that’s right now with minimal traffic. That’s not with people coming into the city, that’s just normal city traffic.
Mr. DeJoy: True. Some of that is due to the closing of South Main.
Ms. Carrubba: I know, the Main Street bridge, but that’s going to be over a year. Your point is well taken. Turning left, you’re going to have traffic backed up past Main Street.
Mr. DeJoy: So, the request is; one, to have that two-way. Two, the other part of it is to remove that no turn left except for buses sign on Third and Washington.
Mr. Liuzzo: Excuse me, Mr. DeJoy. Can we consider, I mean, coming off the Washington left turn, you don’t really have to make a left turn coming off going north on Washington Street. You can just make that right going south on Washington Street to the comedy center.
Mr. DeJoy: That’s also another part of the consideration.
Mr. Liuzzo: My concern is, they’re going to see the comedy center, miss it, drive down Washington Street, on the bridge, and go where? If they don’t know where they’re going and they can’t turn around and go up North Main Street.
Mr. DeJoy: Quite frankly, there won’t be parking. You can pull in over there, but there’s not going to be very much parking that’s going to be available.
Mr. Liuzzo: Correct, but if they can find their way around and stay in town is what I’m saying. If they leave town, where are they going to end up?
Mr. DeJoy: That’s kind of what this wayfinding is about; to try to direct you.
Mr. Liuzzo: The other thing, if you don’t mind, the other thing is, the Goody Clancy report awhile back, they had recommended that Fourth Street be two-way. And that’s not the state, that’s ours. That would help with the traffic flow, if we could make that two-way. Put a left-hand turn lane in and there’s enough street there to make a two-way street. Because as it is now, with the one-way, especially having people lost, you can’t make a left on Third, you’re going to go up to Fourth and you’re going to end up on Fairmount Avenue. If Bergmann’s going to be looking at this, I’d like to at least consider Goody Clancy and make that a two-way street on Fourth. Why is it one-way really? That’s all I wanted to say.
Mr. DeJoy: Thank you for your comments. Basically, this design that they have will need to be looked at again and adjusted if this becomes a reality. There is a, just to let you know, that we’re in the process of setting up a meeting with the Buffalo Regional Director of the Department of Transportation and the mayor and Jeff Lehman and Senator Young is actually getting involved too, so that’s forthcoming and we will be looking at that. The city has sent a letter to the New York State DOT requesting that they at least look at this. We are kind of on hold here because we can’t go forward with this plan because that could change everything of how we’re trying – basically what they were trying to do is direct people into the city given our current structure and traffic patterns. An analysis will likely need to be done; a traffic analysis and study, to see if that is an option.
Ms. Carrubba: The other issue you have if this isn’t done before this upcoming comedy festival week, you’ve got Babe Ruth coming in as well so you’ve got families coming in with that. That was also going to be my point. Maybe we need also – I know there’s a sign at the edge of the city directing them to the stadium, but I don’t know if there are any plans in here, as you’re saying RTPI, but also getting people who are looking for the stadium where the games will be held. Do they know to go down to JCC that this is the way to head to Diethrick Park? But, that’s too bad that this is going to hold this all up. Even now, when you see people living on that side of town, I can’t tell you how many times I see people turn down the wrong way down that one section of Second Street. I’ve nearly had head on collisions with people that were going one way, the right way and they’re turning left and going… They don’t get it. The same thing happens on the other end of Second Street coming down Pine, they’ll make a righthand turn going toward Main Street. You’re looking at them driving it and they don’t realize they’re on a one-way street. The confusion of people coming up to an area that they don’t know well and trying to look for things. It’s tough, but this is going to really be difficult to not have anything clearly delineated before this thing happens.
Ms. Eads: With all due respect to Mr. Benson, why is this just now getting thought about? The NCC has been on that property for five years? So, everybody else is going to suffer because now they’re kind of coming to grips with the reality?
Mr. Liuzzo: My understanding is that it has been brought up before.
Mr. DeJoy: No, this is the first it’s been requested.
Ms. Carrubba: This is the first I’ve heard about it from City Council, Public Safety, anything that we were aware of. I have never heard of this before. Because the issue has been about bus traffic and all of that down there. This has not been brought up because living on that side of town, I’ve raised the issue about temporary closings of Second Street are one thing, permanent closing is another issue for everybody trying to come from that side of town into the city because I’ve said, again, it will direct people to Ellicott and Lakewood because it’s easier to go that way than it is to try to come into the city and the streets are closed off and you can’t act in this direction. It’s unfortunate because it should have been brought up to Public Safety, Planning, everything. Before now. This is pretty late in the game.
Mr. DeJoy: I can’t answer that question…
Ms. Eads: I know. I’m sorry, I just had to say that.
Mr. DeJoy: But I think it could be a positive thing if a solution is found as to how it can safely be done. Because, you’re right, there is a lot of confusion and with, hopefully, this many new visitors coming into Jamestown, we don’t want to make it more complicated and confusing. I think if we can make traffic flow better and make it easier on people coming here, pointing them to the right direction and to where parking is, in the end it will be beneficial. I understand what you’re saying about the timing.
Mr. Sixbey: Is there any portion of this that could be implemented without clarification on the traffic change?
Mr. DeJoy: There probably is, but…
Ms. Mole: The traffic is going to change.
Mr. DeJoy: The traffic is going to change. We haven’t had a chance to even discuss it with our consultant yet, so I can’t answer that question. I think it’s a very good question and I thought of the same thing especially for signage, wayfinding, on more of the east side where it doesn’t affect as much what could be happening on the west side of Jamestown.
Mr. Sixbey: Even though the traffic may change, there are things that are going to be things that are continued…
Mr. DeJoy: Sure, yes. The pedestrian level signage isn’t going to change. Nothing is really going to change. It’s more for the vehicular traffic. Speaking of the traffic, some of the other parts that I mentioned; the parking, we’re looking to implement more of a smart type of parking, using other means of paying for parking meters through a pay-by-phone app and real-time parking availability, looking at potentially putting sensors to identify where parking spaces are available. Now, likely, not out on the street just because of what it would take to dig out and put these sensors in and with snow and so forth. Predominantly in more of the surface parking lot areas and better signage, as I mentioned, at the parking especially the surface parking areas as to how parking is done there.
Ms. Carrubba: One of the issues I raised was if they could utilize CARTS; you’ve got a park and ride at the edge of the city, you’ve got a couple of hotels. Why don’t they look at, and I think they seemed amenable to the idea, they have a bus run to Chautauqua; stop at the hotels on a particular route, stop at the park and ride, pick people up in those locations, bring them into the city, drop them off in front and off they go and they have a regular, maybe on the hour or every two hours because it helps the hotels out, it relieves the congestion downtown and that we don’t probably have enough parking close enough that people are going to be able to or willing to stop here and then try to figure out where they’re going. But, I think it would be a really good idea and you’d get people at the perimeter of the city and then they’re going to see what’s going on in the city instead of spending all their time trying to figure out where they’re going, they’re actually going to look at what’s there and might spot these other things.
Mr. DeJoy: That’s a good point. We’re actually working the County Executive and CARTS to utilize them better here in downtown Jamestown. We know that there’s, from your last meeting here, that at least temporarily, their location is going to have to be changed because of construction of West Second Street streetscape piazza project and that would be fantastic. I think this is all good. It may set us back a little bit, but I think all the things that are happening are positive and I’m encouraged by it. I know the Gebbie Foundation is looking to fund a temporary wayfinding type of program before this is in effect; basically, to supplant what isn’t in place by the time the comedy center opens and we’re looking at that and they’re looking to actually hire Bergmann Associates on a separate contract to analyze this whole structure for a temporary type of signage program. Hopefully it won’t be too expensive. It won’t be big metal signage, but something more of a temporary nature. We’re looking at various technologies for parking meters to replace many of the older, last century technology, which is coins and making some of them longer term and accepting other forms of payment other than just coins, which I rarely seem to have in my pocket anymore.
Mr. Haines: Do you know if the signs are interchangeable on the poles in case you find out one isn’t working well?
Mr. DeJoy: That’s a very good question and I don’t know the answer to that because Bill Rice and I were just discussing that very question; are these blue panels, are they going to be replaceable and is it going to be a static sign and have to replace the whole sign. We’re going to suggest that they can be screwed in and if you need to change something around, you easily can.
Mr. Haines: Putting holes in those poles and they rust out quick, too, if you end up taking them out. Something to just consider if they strap them on there maybe or something not for a lifetime pole maybe.
Ms. Mole: Have they thought about an app that maybe they could download as well to direct them all over Jamestown, parking, places to visit, that kind of thing? I mean, somebody could use their phones. It’s kind of what of everybody’s going to anyway.
Mr. DeJoy: It’s kind of what we’re looking to integrate via this smart parking to identify real-time parking availability and we’re looking at all the various options. So, how we can integrate the sensors into an app that can guide people as to where the best parking is. Obviously, we’re going to try to guide them to the surface parking and parking ramps versus the street parking.
Ms. Mole: Even if say, the directional stuff, like right now you have a blockage at North Main and you can accommodate all of that with an app because visitors this summer are still going to have to figure out how to navigate that detour.
Mr. Sixbey: Considering how tech-intensive the comedy center is going to be, it makes sense for the rest of the city to look something similar.
Ms. Mole: I think so many people, if you come to visit a city, a town, you’re going on your phone to check it all out. Wayfinding is great when you’re walking around, but again, you can still get directional walking right on your phone as well as GPS.
Mr. DeJoy: That’s actually being investigated and analyzed and the consultants are hopefully going to come back with some good options for the technology component of it to guide the people in through various apps. We don’t want to recreate the wheel and we would like to find something that’s already established that people know how to find and not have to go to an app store and figure out what app to use to come into Jamestown. It doesn’t make much sense.
Ms. Scott: Up Close and Wonderful.
Mr. DeJoy: Absolutely. And I know JRC is working diligently as a board member, to actually enhance that and optimize that website so if you type in Jamestown, that will be the first website that comes up and having, perhaps, even a link to whatever app that’s going to be utilized would be very advantageous.
Ms. Mole: It could even be something you could add to the signage as well.
Mr. DeJoy: Absolutely; kiosks and signage.
Mr. Sixbey: And if you’re utilizing it through an app or some other technology like that, you have the ability to track what people are looking at and give them some intelligence as to how to better wrap everything as well.
Mr. Sandberg: Will I-86 traffic coming from the east be directed to the North Main Street exit?
Mr. DeJoy: Yes.
Mr. Leone: Has that Strunk Road detour or directional finder, has there been any sort of sense that it’s working now? We don’t get so many visitors now. How long has it been there?
Mr. DeJoy: It’s still new. I don’t have any traffic data. It was just – I can’t recall if was last summer or last fall.
Council President Carrubba: There are more trucks coming down Washington. Because I work on that side of town and use it. There’s a lot more truck traffic that you will see coming up that way and turning onto Washington. There didn’t use to be much truck traffic at all; I’m talking tractor trailers.
Mr. DeJoy: And you probably noticed it just from your office. If you stand on North Main Street, all the trucks that used to be coming in…
Ms. Carrubba: It’s not as bad as it used to be. North Main, in the winter especially it’s easier, because they don’t have to climbing the hill to Sixth Street. They would get stuck if it was icy or slippery and then they’re trying to make the turn to get back onto Washington. You’d see them stuck; you’d see them backing up and sometimes the traffic was backed up past Tenth Street because of the traffic on that hill. I think it’s an easier climb; they can pick up a little more speed on Washington and it’s not quite as steep. It’s such a short block between Eighth and Sixth to climb that hill. They don’t have much time to get up if it’s slick. I’ve noticed it. If you go down Fluvanna, you see truck traffic coming up that way and other than the auto companies down there, there isn’t a lot that way. When you see tractor trailers are coming because they’re getting off and the sign tells them to get off there.
Mr. Leone: Well that’s a good thing. So, the next long-term project will be to beautify Fluvanna and Washington Street; in the next 25 years.
Mr. Sixbey: Do we know if that was just a sign change, a physical sign change on 86 or was there any coordination with Google Maps, any of the technology that…
Ms. Carrubba: The sign’s pretty visible. It will tell trucks, I think, exit here.
Mr. Sixbey: I know, but I usually follow whatever’s on my GPS. I ignore the sign often.
Mr. DeJoy: Sure. I can’t answer that. I don’t know.
Ms. Mole: I agree. Because living locally we’ve always taken Strunk Road instead of going into the Jamestown, coming back. But you’re right, if it’s an out of town visitor, they’re going to follow their GPS. Why wouldn’t you?
Mr. Sixbey: Which, I expect, is still directing them down Main Street.
Ms. Carrubba: No, it’s not as bad. I’ve worked on North Main for 26 years. It’s not as bad. We’ll wait and see this summer, but it’s not as bad as it used to be.
Mr. DeJoy: The next time I’m coming east, I’m going to put on Google Maps and see what it says. I’m sure an older GPS is going to, if you don’t update it…
Ms. Carrubba: You can tell by people, because a lot of the seniors in the apartment complex cross Main Street to go to the drug store. It’s not as bad as it used to be. Whether there are fewer coming in, it’s not nearly as bad.
Ms. Eads: Any more questions for Vince? Anything in conclusion?
Mr. DeJoy: As soon as we have more detail, we will probably have some type of public input session where we’ll invite the public to look at what’s going to be proposed, but we’re still working with them to keep the process moving. This isn’t going to slow it down too much. We’ll see where that process is going to make it bi-directional on that section of West Second Street, but the process is going to continue and once it’s completed, I think everybody will be happy and it will be easier to navigate around Jamestown, find parking and hopefully there are times that there’s going to be so many people that they’re going to have to walk a little ways and hopefully experience some of the – find some of the nice little shops or restaurants as they’re walking along the way and we’re hoping that there’s going to be a lot of use out of the Cherry Street ramp which, given the fact that a lot of people are staying at the Doubletree or…
Ms. Eads: Does Doubletree have its own parking?
Mr. DeJoy: They have some surface parking. They don’t have nearly enough to accommodate all of the rooms and the city is working with the Hamister group to reserve a number of spaces within the Cherry Street ramp. They’re going to be, not rebuilding the walkway, but rehabbing the walkway that goes across; a new glass cover on the walkway from the hotel to the parking. You’ve probably never used it because you haven’t been here.
Ms. Mole: You have to go back a few years to remember that.
Ms. Eads: It’s been deserted since I got here.
Mr. DeJoy: It’s been deserted for the last four years or so, five years almost. We’re hoping that a lot of people will be coming and staying there and walking to the comedy center and other attractions. That’s the hope; that we keep people here longer.
Ms. Mole: So, really, if those are interchangeable, those signs and everything else, so if something does change, as far as the traffic pattern, it seems like something you could easily swap out. It might be an additional cost, but to swap out the signs; if it’s a possibility.
Mr. DeJoy: It’s where the locations are and if they’re going along Washington Street, some of these signs we have to go through a whole process to have permission because, again, it’s a state highway and right of ways and so forth. We just want to get it right the first time, rather than trying to just put something up for the sake of getting something up right away.
Mr. Liuzzo: I have one more suggestion regarding trucks picking up speed on Washington Street. Coming down from Fifth Street down into Second Street, is there any way we could consider lowering that to 25 miles per hour instead of keeping it at 30. Just to get them to tap their brakes. Sometimes in the afternoon, and I know anybody that’s been driving there, how many times are you in the right lane and they pass you on the left to get in front of you because they want to go straight. We’re going to have a lot of people down in that area. I’d like to see that at least considered; slowing that traffic down for those few blocks.
Mr. DeJoy: I’m sure that will be looked at with this traffic analysis. That will be necessary to look at making it bi-directional traffic. There’s going to have to be a comprehensive – it’s just not a matter of now we’re open two-way here. They’re going to have to analyze traffic pattern, speeds and so forth. That’s beyond my pay grade. I leave it completely up to the experts on that.
Mr. Liuzzo: But, we’ll have time to go over that, right? And say this, this or this, right? I mean, it’s not going to be set in stone; they’re going to present it and we’ll be able to talk about it and say consider this, or consider that, correct?
Mr. DeJoy: Likely yes.
Ms. Eads: Any other questions for Vince? Thank you very much for explaining the congestion mitigation project.
Mr. DeJoy: You’re welcome, Kathleen.
Ms. Eads: I just have one topic of conversation. For next month, my suggestion, Greg and I had talked about inviting in project leaders for the various projects that are due to come onboard probably in the next three or four months before August 1st is what I should say. Since that’s everybody’s aim; Lucy Fest. I was wondering, does anybody have any suggestions as to who I bring in. I want to say the Reg will be, we’re slated to have our street level done by August 1st. I know Jamestown Brewing, are they due by August?
Mr. They’re having a soft opening Cinco de Mayo.
Ms. Eads: Well, they’ll be open then.
Mr. DeJoy: They won’t be open; it’s not even a soft opening, I’d call it more of a sampling.
Ms. Eads: Do we know when they might be opening doors?
Mr. DeJoy: Well, not until construction is completed, but sometime – I think the plan is July.
Ms. Eads: Okay. I would assume NCC, we should have an update so that we have that. Who else? Hamister? Are they due by August?
Mr. DeJoy: They’re now projecting fall.
Ms. Carrubba: That was the last announcement, it would not be open in August.
Ms. Eads; Okay, so the fall. I’ll make a note of that. I know Jackson Center doesn’t’ even start until the fall. I think that’s what Sue had told me.
Mr. Sixbey: They’re not downtown, but what about the Celoron group? The Celoron hotel?
Ms. Eads: They’re due in July?
Mr. Sixbey: They’re due this summer, aren’t they?
Mr. Sandberg: I think so.
Ms. Eads: Okay. I will look into that.
Ms. Carrubba: I would guess they are. They’re moving right along. They’ve been working all winter.
Ms. Eads: Is there anybody else that you’d like to hear from? I just thought it’d be interesting to kind of get a sense of when the grand openings are happening and how busy this summer is looking. Is that everything?
Mr. Liuzzo: What about the guys at the Vikings?
Ms. Eads: They’re further down?
Mr. DeJoy: Yes, they’re further down the road.
Ms. Eads: What about the Key Bank building? I don’t know who owns that, I’m sorry.
Mr. DeJoy: Arnold Duke.
Ms. Eads: Are they due to be open by August 1st?
Mr. DeJoy: No.
Ms. Eads: Okay. I thought they were further along. Anybody else? I think that was mostly everybody. Does anybody have any questions, any new business you’d like on the agenda for next month?
Mr. Leone: I hesitate to bring this up, but I think I will. It’s great to have all this infrastructure stuff come before this commission here, so we know what’s going on in the city. My understanding for this commission is that it is also, it’s purpose is also to make recommendations to the city on quality of life in our community and it seems to me we could make some proposals or recommendations for what I think would be valuable quality of life issues and I’m just thinking, I mean, everyone’s so busy with this comedy center and the city infrastructure and getting ready. Now I put this on the table for consideration in the future. I think there are so many issues that one might consider, but I think an easy one to start with might be trying to decrease the amount of plastic that is put in our environment. And I think it would be, might be done, in an incremental way. I think it takes a lot of leg work because I think you might have to consult merchants individually, but something so simple as getting merchants not to automatically supply plastic straws or at least give sort of a notice on the table that if you want a straw, let your server know; otherwise, you won’t be given a straw. The best would be to arrive at either charging for plastic bags in the grocery stores or eliminating them altogether. I think issues like that, I think that that raises the stature of the community overall. I think especially when people come in here and see that this is a consideration in the community, it raises the stature of the community.
Ms. Eads: I think that’s an interesting idea.
Mr. Leone: I just want to put that on the table because you know if you come into this community, you see that there is an attention paid to try and get rid of plastic. It says something about the community. I put it on the table just for consideration in the future and possibly trying to implement it somehow in the future.
Ms. Eads: I’ll do some leg work to figure out who it is that – because there’s got to be somebody who is in charge of this. I’ll see what policies are already on the books and maybe we can bounce off of that.
Mr. Leone: If one wanted to take this initiative on and let the council know that this we would like the council to sort of weigh in on it, on the idea, and then how do we go about trying to put it in place.
Ms. Carrubba: I’m sure given the number that end up at the wastewater treatment plant, because a lot of those plastic bags you’re talking about end up going through there. If you go down and tour, you’ll see lots and lots of plastic as well along the Chadakoin when they clean out, there’s loads of plastic. You wouldn’t believe the stuff that they find.
Mr. Leone: St. Luke’s church has been doing a series of sort of environmental issues; probably some of you have been to those. It’s good for the community.
Ms. Carrubba: No, you won’t get an argument from me because I’ve heard the same story about plastic straws and I don’t take them anymore.
Mr. Leone: Well if we could educate people to take their own textiles to the stores, that would be a good thing.
Mr. Sandberg: Along those lines, instead of sorted recycling, other areas in the county do mixed recycling on a weekly basis. We’re still separating everything out.
Ms. Carrubba: I brought that up and they talked about it, but I don’t know why – it didn’t go anywhere.
Mr. Sandberg: I think there’s a financial reason behind it.
Ms. Carrubba: As close as Olean, do mixed recycling, so you can put everything out every week. You don’t have to wait for the third week or the fourth week to do the glass.
Ms. Eads: I think that would be very interesting project to take on.
Mr. Leone: It’s not an easy thing because I know that it’s been tried up in Dunkirk. You may know Sherry Ann Mason who’s a Fredonia professor. She’s a chemist, but she works on Great Lakes microbead research and she said she had tried to get that elimination of plastic bags in Dunkirk, but the objection up there from Mayor Rosas was that this is a poor community and you can’t charge them for using plastic bags. There are other ways to do it.
Mr. Sandberg: I agree with Paul and I was hoping to bring up the same kind of sentiment. Looking back in the history of this commission, the Strategic Planning has tackled things like shared services, coordination of effective government, community attitude, appearance of the city, city infrastructure, housing and lifting that up to council. The last couple meetings we’ve spent a lot time making recommendations to organizations that are working on specific issues, but how do we take this information and lift it up to council to get that further support.
Ms. Eads: I think the advantage of the exercise of the meetings over the past few months of learning about the infrastructure. I’m a firm believer at don’t build the house if you don’t have a good foundation. If you don’t have a good understanding of the foundation, it’s really difficult; you just can’t fly off and decide you want to do things. I think this is actually a great launching point now that we have a better idea of infrastructure, of city infrastructure, who does what and that we can go from there. I think it’s a great idea and we’ll get a sense – for May I’ll bring in at least these four representatives so we have an idea of who’s doing what when and then we will start and I’ll do some research on environmental policies, who’s tried what, what has stuck and what hasn’t.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.
Todd M. Thomas, Director of Administrative Services/ City Clerk