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, February 15, 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, Lisa Hatch, Becky Robbins, Kevin Sixbey, Justin Hanft, Cecil Miller
Others Present: Rochelle Mole, Malachi Livermore, Steve Sandberg, Susan Moran Murphy, Andrea Magnuson
Mr. Rabb: We have a guest today who is going to talk to us. It wasn’t clear to me exactly what you were going to say, so I don’t know if you wanted to say something Kathleen, or if you just want Lisa to get into it.
Ms. Eads: No, I think Lisa can explain the program well. It’s something that we’ve all talked about using different terms. Basically, the gist of it is, what can we do for downtown when we have 100,000 people walking around who have never been here and to equip our business owners and others in being nice and not shrugging and saying I have no idea or there’s never anything open, ever, in downtown Jamestown. You cannot get a cup of coffee. We want to inform people.
Ms. Hatch: Absolutely. I made a power point presentation of what we would like to implement. We’re trying to start an ambassador program. That’s exactly what we’re calling it; it is an ambassador program. It could take many forms. The research that I have done; different cities have done it different ways. It goes from the extreme, for example, in Amsterdam if your plane is delayed, you can call a hotline and a volunteer in Amsterdam will come and entertain you while your plane is delayed. It’s a little extreme for Jamestown. Erie, Pennsylvania has a program where people pay $200.00 and they take nine classes and then they become an ambassador for the city. We decided to try it a little bit differently.
First, let me start by saying that multiple groups in the area are trying different things. For example, the Jamestown Young Professionals are coming up with a mentoring group. So, if a young professional comes to town, they’ll take them out to coffee, befriend them, make sure that everything is going okay. I know that the Chamber has some ideas in regards to what they want to do. Multiple groups have ideas. So, I wanted to play on the strength of the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation and our team and what we’ve been doing is, we’ve been working with local restaurants and retailers and businesses quite closely. We started with the Shop Local. So, Shop Local, we actually put boots on the ground, went to each of the businesses, explained to them what we we’re doing, held a contest and worked with the business owners to make sure that their online presence was up to date and that they had information and we got their buy-in. we were able to track a little more than $50,000.00 receipt sales through local businesses. And then, we’re like, that worked really well so we did the same thing with Doors Open. But, in addition to that for Doors Open, we put an informational booth in Community Park; AIDS Memorial Park. We had over 110 people stop and talk to us to say hi, where are you going to go, what are you going to do. We also went around to the restaurants and businesses which mostly aren’t open on Saturdays and we talked a lot of them into being open. So, several restaurants reported that they had one of their best days of the month. And we helped them update their Google profile, etc., etc.
So, we thought that the best way to do this is to build upon that and work with the restaurants and the retail shops to get them into being ambassadors. We have approximately 33 people that we’ve targeted that we’re going to work with; in the beginning. In August, like you said, 112,000 people are going to begin arriving to Jamestown and I’m pretty new in town so when I came to town, I would walk around and say, hey do you know where I can get a fountain soda. And people couldn’t tell me. People couldn’t really help me. I would need Tylenol Sinus and people couldn’t tell me where to go. Some businesses were better than others, but it was still pretty challenging. We only have one chance to make that first impression. If somebody Googles or Yelps or puts something online that they had a miserable time because they received a cold sandwich or were treated rudely, it’s going to impact. I’m not that cool, but I have 600 Facebook friends; I post a picture of my dog, I get 60 likes and 10 shares. I’ve got nothing. The impact of a bad review could be colossal to the whole project.
What we’re going to try to do, the goal of the Ambassador Program, what I’m trying to do is create a low-cost, yet efficient method so that our guests will be led to knowledgeable, trained people who can offer excellent interactions. And those people are our business owners; our brick and mortar business owners. Our goal is to have business owners help create an even more welcoming environment that people leave here and say they feel safe and welcome. We’re going to engage the business owners and as I’ve explained, we’ve had a lot of success in this, even within the past six months. We have approximately 33 businesses that are within reasonable walking distance from the comedy center. We’re going to approach them in three ways; we’re going to send them out invitations to come to a meeting at our JRC location. We’re going to offer these sessions breakfast, lunch and dinner. So, it’s going to be three times during the day. We’re also going to promote it through our social media and traditional news outlets; please come business owners, we want to talk to you. But, if that does not work, it’s been my experience that the best way to work with our local business owner is boots on the ground, door to door. So, we have six people currently working at Jamestown Renaissance Corporation and we hustle and make it to every single one of them and explain what we’re trying to do. I know that sounds labor intensive, but so far, it’s been my experience that that is the way to get to them. Our business owners, most of them, work crazy tremendous hours. It’s very difficult for them to get away, so we’re going to bring it to them.
The ambassadors are going to be expected to commit. We want them to keep their online presence up to date. To accomplish this, we’ve already started going around and helping people understand their Google, their Yelp, etc., etc. Because it’s not unheard of for you to Yelp a restaurant here, and say oh, it’s open, go there and it’s not. And it’s frustrating. And then you get a bad review. We’re also trying to help them learn how to work and respond to bad reviews in a way that makes them into positive. We are working with an intern from JCC who is going around business to business and helping them with this. Each ambassador is going to be expected to complete an online class that JRC is currently developing. We want them to have knowledge about the area. We don’t want them to walk into a business and be like, I don’t know. We want them to stay informed with our current events and they’re going to have to follow our Facebook page, but we’re also going to email blast them anything that we do so that with all the constant changes, they’re up to date on everything that’s going on. They need to ensure that their employees participate in the training. It’s all going to be online and it should be part of the orientation program. Because if you go into a restaurant and the owner knows, but the owner is busy doing the books, you’re going to get the counter person and they need to know as well. And they have to have space in their establishment for the brochettes and maps so that people can have a takeaway with them and so they can follow the maps; until we progress to a different wayfinding system.
So, why would they want to be an ambassador, right? Why would they want to do this? Simple as this; it’s additional exposure for them in the community. It’s going to drive more people through the door. It’s going to help them develop new business. It’s going to help them improve their business need. So, if they do this right, their Yelp reviews are going to go up and more people are going to come in. when I travel and I need to find a place to eat, I go to Yelp and I see who got the best ratings, I read them and I go. And millions and millions of people do. It’s going to create an opportunity for public recognition for them because we’re going to use the press, etc., etc. Write articles about them, how wonderful they’re doing, etc., etc. People up here, I don’t know if it’s the whole world, but people up here love seeing their name in the newspaper.
And the best part, that I’m most excited about, but I have to talk to the city about it but is a potential that we can help them obtain signage to identify themselves as ambassadors. Basically, what we’re trying to do is either; one, we’ll paint the sidewalk in front of their business and I put out a copy of the logo that we’re hoping to use on the next page and it kind of looks like a welcome mat, so we’re hoping to paint that in front of their stores. So, when people are walking around, they can see this and say oh, this is an ambassador. This is somebody that can tell me where I can go to the bathroom and where I can go get a fountain soda, or whatever you prefer to call it. Ultimately, what we’d like to do is help the businesses pay for signs to hang over their door. Much like the ones that Crown has. Not only will that be visually appealing to the whole area, it’s an identifier and it will drive people in. If those two ideas don’t work out, then we’ll settle for a sticker, but that would be such a disappointment and a heartbreak to me. Because you have to see, visually, that this is where I go for a friendly face. So, the next slide is our Jamestown Ambassador logo and we liked it based on the fact that it looks like a welcome mat. Welcome to Jamestown. And if we paint it on the sidewalk in front of a door, it’s going to look like a welcome mat; welcome to my house.
So, the training course is going to be developed online. I do have experience developing them because that’s how all the training was done in my past jobs. It’s very easy to set up, we’ll break it into sections and they’ll have a test at the end of the sections. Even the Department of Motor Vehicles is doing like that. If you need to get your 15% off your insurance, you can do it right online. So, that’s the wave of the future. We are thinking that the course is going to consist of the basic history of Jamestown. Nothing too crazy, you don’t need a master’s degree in it, but people should know that this was once the furniture capital of the world. And who is Fenton? All of these different things. So, hopefully, we’ll collaborate with the Fenton Museum to come up with something very brief, small, that people will be able to digest. They have to have knowledge of the map of Jamestown and directions. The city is working on wayfinding, which I’m hoping I can participate in and help with, but until all that is done, people are actually going to have to be able to give good directions. They have to have customer service concepts. That again is the online presence and how to greet a customer and things of that nature. Because you’ve got to have more of an experience. When I was in college, I bartended for years. I made great money because I had the hustle. You have to be warm and inviting. We’re going to teach even more about online and social media and make them aware of what their presence is. Most of our business owners have not even cleaned their Yelp pages, so they don’t have access to all the statistics and all the power behind that. We’re trying to teach them that and we’re going to develop a bit of a course so that they understand what it is and we’re available to help. We’re also going to try to explain to them crime statistics and myth versus reality. The perception outside of the community is that this is the most dangerous place in the world and we all know that this is not the most dangerous place in the world; I’ve never felt safer in my life. So, instead of buying into it, if somebody says is this dangerous, we can have frequently asked questions and answers to them so that people can present it; no, we have 2 police per 1000. Basic information.
Community services; how to contact – we’re going to teach them how to contact police, when it’s good to contact police, the fire department, emergency services. The training is going to be ongoing because there are going to be issues that are going to come up between now and the time that the comedy center opens that we haven’t really addressed yet. For example, one thing that’s been discussed recently is bathrooms. We have to figure out where there are going to be more public bathrooms. And when those decisions are made, we’re going to produce another chapter to the online learning, forward it to them, have them complete it and call us with any questions and they’ll stay current. We’re also going to teach them how to use our Jamestown Up Close Page and we’re developing a calendar for the area so that they can say what is there to do tonight. I’ll talk to a restaurant owner and I would say what’s going on tonight. At least they’ll have a basic idea; well, you can go to the Reg, $5 ticket to see Three Billboards on Saturday. So, people can be somewhat engaged. We’re going to keep looking forward; what businesses are opening, what businesses are closing, what is available and what’s happening on major projects. If the bridges, the pedestrian bridges are going in, we’ll send them an email blast and let them know. That was a fun day. If we see a crane in the sky, we’re going to let them know because this is what people need to get excited about the area and then they’ll have the information.
So, my to-do list is work with the city, talk to Vince and Mayor Teresi about signage options and what I can actually do. I’m hoping that I get support on it and that we can move forward. We’re going to continue to develop the training material and in regards to the list that I have in here, it’s not all-inclusive. So, anything that you can add to it, I would greatly appreciate. I came up with that list based on the trainings that were done in other cities, but I’ve only been here since July so I’m not sure that I hit them all. Doing the community outreach to businesses; and I’m really proud to say that since I’ve been here in July to now, I feel like we’re even more connected with the city. I think they made have had a bit of a bad taste for the JRC in their mouth for a while, but our reputation has improved greatly and I’m constantly on the phone with people who want to start a business or are starting a business and they’re warm and inviting. Maybe people don’t see that all the time, but they’re really great people.
We’ve got to update the kiosk maps; all the maps in the kiosks. We need to put an updated map in there. We need to put information about what the Ambassador Program is and what the signs mean etc., etc. We also need to make sure that they’re bilingual. So that’s a process that we’re starting as well. We need to blast this; publicity and social media. We need to work on our social media presence. So, if you’re coming to Jamestown, you Google it, you can see that we have an ambassador program; come see these people, go see those people. I think what the business owners are going to find is, and I can’t be the only one, but if I walked into Havana to ask for directions, when I smell his food, I’m buying it and I’m going to sit down. And if I look at his menu and I see Cuban coffee, I’m getting a Cuban coffee. So, I think what they’re going to find is that their sales are going to go up as well. And most importantly, as I said in the beginning, a lot of tour groups are working on this in some form or fashion. So, we have to figure out what everybody’s doing to make sure that all of our needs are met. Because the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation also has an ever-growing pool of volunteers for those special occasions; for those days that you need more people on the street. So, for example, the Jamestown Young Professionals said that if they ever needed us to mobilize and do something for the day, they’re welcome to help us. We’ve started a partnership with the Jamestown High School and a component of it is Jamestown High School students will be doing community engagement and the community engagement is going to have something to do with the ambassadors on our end. And I met Beth Stark from JCC and she has a leadership club over at JCC and a portion of the JCC Leadership Club is community engagement. So, when I get all these portions and all these pieces to the table and we all put our ideas together, we’re going to have a huge impact on the success of the opening of the comedy center and all the other DRI projects. So, I’m very interested in your feedback about the plan. Do you think it sounds crazy? Do you think it sounds unmanageable? And do you have anything that you can add that I can make improvements? That’s my pitch.
Ms. Eads: I vaguely remember, but I might have gotten confused, did you say that you got a grant to develop this program or is it a program that the JRC has absorbed?
Ms. Hatch: It’s a program that JRC has absorbed. It’s definitely something that our board wants to see happen. It’s essential to all the attractors and the attractors are going to be engaged as well. We’re just going to engage them differently. That’s a side note. There was a grant submitted prior to me coming. They wanted to open up a storefront on Third Street from what the history was and that storefront was going to be staffed 24 hours a day by volunteers. There was some plan of that sort. That didn’t come to fruition, so this is actually probably a more manageable, more cost-effective way to manage our first impressions.
Mr. Duckworth: I’m sorry I came in a little bit late. Have you started this? Do you have business owners that are stepping up, that are saying we’re in or are you still in the conceptual stage?
Ms. Hatch: We are slightly past conceptual stage. A lot of the methods that we came up with, and information in this packet was based on input from business owners in retail. I couldn’t come for a session because I can’t leave the business. Okay, can you do an online class, yes, I can do an online class. So, we’re developing it in conjunction with businessowners so it’s past – but the brick and mortar piece, the signage, etc., etc., that I still have to work out those details.
Mr. Duckworth: You mentioned some concern about whether or not you’d be allowed to do the mat, the doormat, I’m assuming you’re wanting to paint this.
Ms. Hatch: Yes. But, it wouldn’t be permanent. It would last for a while.
Mr. Duckworth: Probably that’s going to be the concern for most people is because – I’m assuming you’ll be painting it on concrete, it won’t take long before it doesn’t look very good.
Ms. Hatch: Right. It’s going to have to be a process that’s kept up.
Mr. Duckworth: Would there not be a possibility of actually doing a mat?
Ms. Hatch: That’s a good idea. I just don’t want my maps to disappear, but that’s a very good idea. Let me look into that. The reason that I didn’t want to do something permanent is because the city is working on wayfinding and I don’t want to impede on the progress that they’re making; with lighting and bricks to guide the way. But, a mat is a really good idea.
Ms. Mole: The thing with the mat, would be my concern, is that it gets bunched up and you have people walking through the door and then you’re going to have tripping issues. That would be my only concern, just from the visitors that we get in my museum.
Mr. Leone: You could paint the logo on the storefront windows.
Ms. Hatch: I don’t know that they would want to block their view.
Mr. Leone: Well, it doesn’t have to be a giant sort of thing. But, that’s a consideration too because it gets it off the street.
Mr. Livermore: Also, I know in New York, there’s a lot of vinyl stickers, but they’re very high-quality ones that are meant to be on concrete and of course they’re easily removed.
Ms. Hatch: That’s a good idea too. I’m glad I brought this to your attention. That’s a really good idea and I’ve seen those. Burlington, Vermont has a similar program. They do it with footsteps. There’s footprints, so you follow the footprints that you go up to so they’re your ambassadors and they will help you move to the next one. And we thought about hearts, but I thought that would look a little obnoxious. I like all the map ideas so I’m going to go back the table with mats.
Mr. Leone: There are hearts at Lakeview Cemetery, leading you-know-where. So, are these 33 that you’ve spoken to or contacted, are they generally restaurants or do they include other sort of elements?
Ms. Hatch: Restaurants and retail.
Mr. Leone: Like what kind of retail?
Ms. Hatch: For example, Crown. Crown is a coffee shop, but I do consider it retail because they have things for sale. Everybody’s been very supportive. Even Mike’s studio, he has that whole vintage area where he’s selling movie props and wonderful things. I’m sure that he’s…
Mr. Leone: That would certainly be appropriate, yes.
Ms. Hatch: People are way more supportive of the idea than I had originally anticipated. I thought that there’d be a lot more negative – oh, this is never going to… But, as long as you listen to people and you get their input and you try to make them feel part of the process, they’ve been wonderful.
Mr. Leone: Have you broached the subject of taking the course online with them or not?
Ms. Hatch: I have not laid out all the specifics, but they are aware that there will be some informational training, but it will be at their pace and on their computer as opposed to having to go somewhere. Because that’s where they felt that that was impossible. They can’t step away from the business and their families to take 9 classes like they did in Erie. And they’re definitely not going to pay $200.00 for 9 classes, that’s for sure. I don’t how Erie, PA got them to do it.
Mr. Duckworth: I think the social media stuff is really important and like you mentioned, at JCC we have a program that is really helping a lot of businesses in the area to sort of upgrade their knowledge and understanding of how you utilize that to your advantage. So, I don’t know that every small business owner has the ability to do that, but if your organization could provide that to them on a consistent ongoing basis, they could come in routinely, our interns, to check on that and make sure that they’re staying current with that, I think it could be a real contribution.
Ms. Hatch: I do too. I think something small like that, not only is it a wonderful learning experience for many of you students through internship opportunity, because they actually get to get boots on the ground and talk to people, which is harder when you’re younger, and you’ll get the flair for that, but also, they’re all tech-savvy. They are way more tech-savvy than I’ll ever be.
Mr. Duckworth: That’s what the report back to us is; the business owners don’t know this stuff at all and this young person walked into my office and in a matter of moments transformed my whole business.
Ms. Hatch: Yes. That’s the feedback I get too. Initially, people are a little standoffish and they don’t want to do it, or what is the cost is always the issue. No cost, we’re going to help you do this. You have a computer, you’re keeping your books, you’re keeping your inventory and we’re going to help you. And so far, people have been wonderful and receptive. So, we’re happy to talk about additional interns from that program. I know Simone does a lot of work on that and I know she can’t handle the whole city, but we could be her minions and we’re happy to do it.
Ms. Murphy: For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Sue Murphy with the Jackson Center, so I’m coming at this from a not-for-profit angle and I understand why you might want to approach and engage attractors differently and separately from this program, but I’m very interested in the online training. We consider ourselves as ambassadors for Jamestown. We have a lot of people who come through the center, we have a lot of volunteers, we have college interns and we’re always trying to sell Jamestown. People are always asking us where they can go get a meal or a cup of coffee or stop at a drugstore. So, I’m wondering if you can make your online training available to attractors as well as businesses you’ll be working with. It doesn’t seem to me, at first glance, that it would be difficult if it’s already developed and perhaps not costly.
Ms. Hatch: It’s not. It’s minimal cost, so absolutely. The reason why I put the attractors into a separate bucket, which I didn’t discuss, is because one of the things that we’d like to do is work with the National Comedy Center. They’re going to have transportation in and around the area that’s going to mirror when Jerry Seinfeld was in town. And so, we’re hoping to help work with them to expand it so that people can be dropped off at the attractors which will increase footsteps through their door. There’s also some discussion about bracelets that will, for a minimal charge, we’ll allow you to go to the different attractors as well. So that’s all in the beginning, basic phases, but in my mind, once that is settled, I was going to make everything available to all the attractors. So, all of our training, anything you need, boots on the ground.
Ms. Murphy: Would the training have to wait for those things to be settled, or could it be made available when it’s ready for the businesses?
Ms. Hatch: When it’s ready for the businesses.
Ms. Murphy: That’d be great.
Ms. Hatch: I just wanted to be able to wow the attractors in the attractor meeting and say guess what’s coming to your town. So, I was holding back a little bit. It’s going to be a great program and I know you guys are ambassadors to everyone. Randy from the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame, he’s already acting as an ambassador. He’s over there cooling off his pamphlet container that doesn’t have any pamphlets in it yet. He’s great; telling people exactly where to go, how to get to the bank, how to get to here. He was kind of my inspiration for how we’re going to do this because I was like, we already have an ambassador, his name is Randy. I tell him every time I see him, Randy, you are my muse.
Ms. Mole: We also do the same at the Lucy Desi Museum. We have a map they can walk away with of the town. We have a brochure that lists all the local restaurants and we also have a staff member that researches every week what’s going on locally so that when we get visitors during the weekend, I say it’s the most important in town and where they can go from here. We have the brochures; everything’s in there.
Mr. Livermore: Additionally, for the comedy center, we have a working title Comedy Concierge whose job is specifically just helping people and directing them on what else is going on in the area. One thing that I think would be really helpful is if you could develop a – we kind of have our own that we develop for the festival, but a restaurant guide of all the downtown restaurants. I think in that area, in that guide that we have, is ATMs, where all the ATMs are, were all the restaurants are, etc. because people constantly ask about that.
Ms. Hatch: We’re all working on the same thing, it’s just currently we’re somewhat working in a silo. So, if we all pull together, this is more accomplished than we can even conceive of.
Mr. Livermore: Is there any plan on working with the businesses for extended hours or more days? I know it’s kind of cart before the horse, but for example, on Sunday, I live downtown and I wanted to get a coffee with my dog, but unfortunately…
Ms. Eads: Corner Café is open from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm on Sundays.
Mr. Livermore: Perfect. Good to know.
Ms. Hatch: To a degree it has to happen organically though. We did have some success getting some people to be open for Doors Open. At first even restaurants said I don’t open on Saturday’s and then when they tried it, the business was there. So, they came back and they said I don’t like working on Saturdays, but I had my best day of the month. So, as the guests come, we’ll continue to talk to them and be like, do you know how many people are down here on a Sunday, to make your business work. I don’t have a problem – I’ve talked to a lot of business owners in regards to what doesn’t make sense. So, that is part of what I do, pretty much, every day.
Mr. Livermore: Great. I guess one of my concerns is, August 1st, ribbon cutting, are they ready on Sunday versus after the fact seeing the business. Just because that’s when all the Yelp reviews are going to come in. that’s when we need to be prepared by August 1st. I know it’s chicken before the egg, none of the businesses want to open up on Sunday if there’s not the business, but just making sure that they’re prepared.
Ms. Hatch: Yes, absolutely. Preparing them for this a big part of the thing. I feel like this is preparing for your wedding. It’s February, I need to take off 25 pounds and fit in the dress and make sure that everybody knows where to stay and it’s coming really quick. So, the timeline is pretty aggressive that I have set up, but I feel like it’s all manageable in small chunks. I’m happy to hear that you’re managing your chunk and we’re going to be able to work together really well to manage our chunk. And I agree, I would like a nice cup of coffee and I’d like a breakfast with my dog on Sunday morning. We’ll get there. We’ll get there by working closely with – and as soon as they see the return, when they see if they are open – if you build it they will come – the hours will get better.
Mr. Duckworth: The focus so far has been on businesses that are downtown; small businesses. It’s worthwhile to mention the hotels as well, at the outer edges. When people come in, the Hampton Inn, and they go across the street to Bob Evans for breakfast, that’s where they’re going to get their first two experiences.
Ms. Hatch: We’ve been working closely in developing a relationship with the new hotel, the Double Tree…
Mr. Duckworth: But, if those are your first two points of contact before you can get downtown, you need some consistent messaging going out to the outskirts as well.
Ms. Hatch: Definitely. Thank you. I have business cards, so everybody can reach out to me. Questions, concerns, offers to help me, let me know what you want to do, so I’ll make sure everybody gets one. Thank you so much for listening to my pitch. It’s going to be great, let’s get this thing together.
Mr. Rabb: I don’t think it’s just training. I think it’s also training for the people that live here because I gave that story earlier that I, when I’m on the street, and I think because I’m tall, people always think I know what I’m doing and so this van pulled up to me and said where’s Niagara Street. Because of what I’ve been doing all these years, I knew where it was and I told him how to get here. But, I had no idea who these people were. I didn’t have a chance to say are you from out of town, what are you looking for, but I said well, you’re in the wrong place, you’ve got to go back. You’ve got to go on the east side of town off of Second Street. I think sometimes, it isn’t just the business owners, it’s those of us who live here. And that might be way beyond the scope of what you’re trying to do, but I don’t know how to help residents know where things are and also be positive and supportive and friendly.
Ms. Hatch: I’ve thought about that as well. We have over 480 households in Jamestown, New York that received grants for the Renaissance Block Challenge that are huge fans of Ms. Mary Maxell, our governor of Jamestown neighborhoods, so I’m not exactly sure how to tie that all in, but we do have minions in the neighborhood.
Mr. Rabb: Maybe that’s a way to reach out to people as groups to also be, I don’t know, quasi-ambassadors.
Ms. Hatch: We have over 1500 individuals who receive Grow Jamestown signs every year. We have their email address, their contact information. These people are serious. If they don’t get a sign, they need to know why. We have the ability to contact large groups of people who have been engaged with our mission in the past and are very happy with us, so we can start pumping information to them. But that needs to be developed and refined more.
Ms. Eads: Because it’s not all about the tourists. There is a large portion of the population, whether it’s just Jamestown or Lakewood or whatever. They just simply refuse to come downtown because they think they’re going to get mugged or they can’t park or the restaurant that they picked out all of the sudden is closed, so I feel like if we can tackle that layer, the tourists are easy. But I think it would be a misstep to ignore our community.
Ms. Hatch: I don’t disagree. But, I do have to say, having lived in Buffalo for so many years and I don’t want to keep going back to the fact that I lived in Buffalo, but I remember living in neighborhoods where people would say I’m not going downtown, I don’t go downtown, it’s all junkies in the park, this that and the other, and as it became more popular, all you needed to do was post to Facebook and all of the sudden, Grandma’s sitting next to Shark Girl. So, the tourists are going to put it on social media that they had a wonderful time. The people in the community are going to see it as well. It’s going to bubble out and people are going to be like, hey I’ve got to see this. My mom, when she lived in upstate New York, she moved to Hamburg and I swear, she never left the area because she thought she was going to fall off some sort of edge, even she’ll go downtown to see what’s going on and I think that’s going to happen somehow organically, but we do plan on addressing neighborhoods. I just haven’t hashed it out, but we have the numbers and we have the passion so we should be able to make some inroads.
Mr. Rabb: I think at some point we do need to do that because I still hear that. Just the other day in class, out of nowhere, a student talking to another student said I don’t go downtown, so I’m listening and the students said why not and she said it’s boring. I finally said why is downtown boring? She said you used to be able to go downtown at 21 and get drunk in the bars and now they’re closing The Q and their closing Mojo’s. I don’t necessarily want to bring people down to get drunk, but it was interesting and these are young people saying I don’t want to go. And it wasn’t because it wasn’t safe. That’s why I said why. Well, there’s no bars to go to, to get drunk when you turn 21. I guess at 21…
Ms. Hatch: That is a motivator. I thought about the same thing because I was thinking about Fredonia. I went to school in Fredonia and I walked, I don’t know 3 miles, to get to BJ’s from campus. And for every bar that’s closing, I’ve already heard about owners coming in for the most part. They’re going to have the Jamestown Brewery which will be probably, pricey for a college student, but The Q is going to reopen as the Chadakoin Club and it’s going to be country western, rock n’ roll with some kind of nautical design. And then there’s the Beer Snob. There’s always going to be the Cherry Lounge and the Wine Cellar, so there’s always going to be…
Mr. Rabb: It just goes back to my point that we need to work with the locals.
Ms. Hatch: I’m interested in working with the college because I want to increase shuttle services. So that your people can come down to my public market.
Mr. Rabb: Yes, we’ve talked about that. I know that Cory’s brought that up that the college is really cutoff.
Mr. Duckworth: Yes, we could really use some help with that. We’re in an island out there and our students are captured and they have nothing to do.
Ms. Hatch: We need you. And we need your students too, so we need to get together and work that out; how we’re going to shuffle these people around without transportation. Because I would walk three miles down that street to go get a beer at BJs, but I’m not walking from JCC. There’s hills here.
Ms. Robbins: CARTS route doesn’t go there?
Ms. Hatch: It’s a very limited route.
Ms. Eads: Well, I do hope to add that our next meeting, we will have a CARTS representative speaking to us and she’ll certainly be telling me all about what CARTS is and what their capacity is and all of that. That is our next meeting, which will be interesting as far as shuttle service, local transportation, etc.
Mr. Rabb: And I think it’s also an opportunity to tell them what we think maybe it would be nice if they did it if they can.
Ms. Murphy: I would add too, you might want to do some kind of town hall or public forum and invite the general public to hear what JRC is doing with this Ambassador’s Program, what you’re planning to do next with the attractor’s group because there are a lot of people who, especially young people now, who are engaged in the community to want to know what’s happening and you can get them really excited just by knowing what steps you’re taking already.
Ms. Hatch: Absolutely. That’s a really great idea. I make inroads a little bit at a time. So, for example, I’m always amazed that there’s a woman named Autumn Echo who can get 60-70 people to show up to listen to a poetry slam and I talk to her and ask here how do you get 60-70 people to show up for a poetry slam, but I have an informational meeting about grants and I only get 21, so I agree 100%. You have to make the information open and available and show people exactly what we’re doing. I will definitely take that into consideration.
Mr. Leone: So, how large a list is it of attractors?
Ms. Eads: What qualifies as an attractor? I’ve always wondered about that.
Ms. Hatch: That’s a really good question. Which I don’t have an excellent answer for because I asked that as recently as a couple of weeks ago. You’re an attractor.
Ms. Eads: Okay.
Ms. Hatch: We have an attractors meeting one time per month and so the different museums are considered attractors, but then there’s other attractors, so for example the Martz Observatory…
Ms. Murphy: The Audubon, RTPI, Jackson Center.
Ms. Hatch: Do you know the criteria for being an attractor?
Ms. Murphy: No one knows we’re part of it. We have maybe 13 to 15 that regularly attend.
Ms. Robbins: The Doubletree attends?
Ms. Hatch: The Doubletree has begun to attend. There’s always a representative from the Lucy Museum, from the comedy center, the ice arena.
Mr. Duckworth: Is JCC represented?
Ms. Hatch: No, not as far as I know.
Mr. Duckworth: We have the art gallery and we do a lot of community events.
Ms. Hatch: You should join us.
Ms. Eads: Patricia has been there every now and again.
Mr. Duckworth: Who has?
Ms. Eads: Patricia from the Weeks.
Ms. Hatch: I may not have met her yet. I know Len is there every single month because I’m front and center to hear what he has to say and so the idea behind the group is that everybody works together to make sure that we cross-promote as well as do what we can to support each other’s mission.
Ms. Eads: And we step on each other’s performance dates.
Ms. Hatch: That’s what they say.
Ms. Eads: That’s what they say. There is a calendar that exists.
Ms. Hatch: The funny thing is, that’s going to happen more and more if we do our jobs right.
Ms. Eads: I hope that that is the case.
Ms. Hatch: Because we’ll have enough people now, we need multiple things. Sometimes when you travel, the biggest problem is, is how do I fit all these activities in in this timeframe and the hope is, that’s what happens here. Do I really have to choose between seeing Three Billboards or this other activity? I hope I’m challenged with that. And there’s plenty of people and you’ve got to buy your tickets early because if you don’t, you’re out and then I can scalp them in the parking lot for you.
Mr. Rabb: And then that simulcast will be the other attractor.
Mr. Leone: Let me mention that, since it’s been brought up, Week’s Gallery, that this very evening there is an opening at Week’s Gallery and if you’ve never been to any of the openings there, they are very worthwhile going to. Good food, a talk, an artist talk and the gallery presentation.
Ms. Eads: Yes, Patricia does a nice job.
Mr. Leone: It’s this very evening at 6:00.
Ms. Hatch: Well, I appreciate your attention and I appreciate your input and I look forward to working with you guys.
Mr. Rabb: Is that it, Kathleen?
Ms. Eads: Do we need to approve the minutes form the last meeting? Just following the agenda.
The minutes from the January 18, 2018 were approved.
Ms. Eads: Do we have any new business that anybody wants to bring to the table? I mentioned, next month will be the CARTS public transportation talk which will be interesting. I know nothing about public transportation in Jamestown, so it will certainly be educational.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.
Todd M. Thomas, Director of Administrative Services/ City Clerk