Get to know the candidates: City Council Ward 5 | News, sports, jobs
Jamestown City Council’s 5th Ward is being contested between Republican incumbent William Reynolds III and Casey Colburn, a candidate backed by Democrats.
Both candidates were asked three questions to answer to better illustrate the policy platforms they are competing on.
POST-JOURNAL: Is there one recurring theme you hear from voters as you go door to door? How do you think the council can best address constituent issues?
William R. Reynolds III: While touring (walking and listening) the 5th Ward area, voters had many concerns. They were also polite, honest, and compassionate while discussing the good, the bad, and the ugly. The top three recurring issues were crime, wayward juveniles, and the Ministry of Development’s lack of implementation. The police are called frequently and the results are positive in most cases. The new position of nuisance officer has proven successful. While the police are very busy, the City Council continues to encourage residents to be proactive and call as many times as necessary to report any suspicious activity. Adding a second nuisance officer would help address many “quality of life” issues throughout the entire city.
The “rebellious” youth in the ward raise many concerns. With complaints of criminal mischief, ringing doorbells, fighting, banging on windows, damaging property, harassing and challenging citizens, using loud and insulting language and generally raising hell, residents are in most cases fear-mongering. These children have no respect for others or for themselves. Reform is too big for the police to take them home or for the council to dictate some implementation programme, it is a societal dilemma. In many cases the problem begins at home. Benefiting from the Family Court for crimes committed by juveniles and treating adults as adults. Having a strict curfew can help, and putting some responsibility on the parents can help solve problems.
The Ministry of Development trains new employees and equips them to deal with many problems through proper implementation. The council approved a new ordinance that addresses many issues affecting neighborhoods. The council hopes that many of the violations will be dealt with quickly and not end up in housing court. The demolition of uninhabitable homes must be a priority and the Council has allocated funds for this purpose.
Casey Colburn: As I went door to door, I had the pleasure of speaking with my neighbors throughout Ward 5, and one recurring theme was the need for better communication. We as leaders in this community need to speak clearly and get timely information.
Specifically, about grants. I think one way to address this issue is to simply get people to sign up for a Please Notify Me list specific to their needs or interests. For example, if you need a window, you can sign up to be put on a notify me list and when a window grant becomes available, you will be mailed so you have a high chance of applying. This does not guarantee that the person will receive the grant; However, it gives more opportunities than current methods. If a list like this already exists, the public should be made aware of that as well. This can be done by running advertisements in The Post-Journal, for example, mini-newsletters and even radio and television advertisements. Does it cost money? Yes, but it also invests in our community to ensure everyone has the same opportunities.
POST MAGAZINE: Homelessness, affordable housing and code enforcement have long been identified as growing problems in the city. What actions do you think the city and council should take to address these problems?
William R. Reynolds III: The city and council members recognize the growing issues with housing, homelessness, affordable housing and code enforcement. Initiatives were taken to include religious entities and their efforts, funding was allocated for future shelters, and programs (i.e. 19A) were established to get new homeowners into homes at the lowest costs of making the homes code compliant. Homelessness is a very serious problem and people are less likely to get the help they need. Especially when many do not want to give up their vices and follow the rules of the shelters. Some need to get help with mental health issues. I think the city does an exceptional job of providing assistance and support to those in need. External agencies are essential to service delivery and the city cannot do it alone. Affordable housing is discussed at the council level and a look at zoning laws and how they can be changed and amended to allow new buildings to be built in the city. Tiny homes are an up and coming topic, and the council is interested in seeing where this trend can succeed in Jamestown.
Casey Colburn: I think Mayor Sundquist’s plan is a great start on these issues. If elected I will help push for these plans. I will also lobby for programs and grants to help with homeless assistance and affordable housing. Some programs already exist, so it will be a matter of making sure everyone knows they are available and doing that again in a timely manner so everyone has the opportunity to apply for or take advantage of these programs.
Post-Journal: Eight buildings have been identified as major redevelopment opportunities in the urban design plan. Three of those parcels have found new tenants, while five remain largely unchanged — the Furniture Market Building, the Viking Building, the Key Bank Building, the former Craft World Building and the Action Hobbies Building on Third Street and the storefronts of the Jamestown Hotel. Are you satisfied with the progress that has been made on new futures for those buildings over the past five years and how can the council stimulate development in those areas?
William R. Reynolds III: Of the eight buildings asked about, none were located in the Fifth Ward. But I’m excited about the development that has paid off during my short time on the board. I have been fortunate to attend several ribbon cutting events organized by the Chamber. Most of the listed buildings were unsuccessful in getting new tenants but had interested developers and investors. For whatever reason, some trades fail. The Council should review the Urban Design Plan as many factors surrounding economic development have changed in recent years. Looking at a more regional base may increase economic development. Capitalism works and we need to entice venture money, developers, investors, manufacturers and small Mom & Pop stores to consider what Jamestown has to offer. Working with the Chamber, the Manufacturers Association, the Ministry of Development and Institutions and especially with the private sector to encourage potential companies to seriously look at what this city has to offer.
Casey Colburn: I would like to see grants provided to help restore and renovate these historic buildings to make them more attractive to potential buyers and businesses. You mentioned the Jamestown Hotel, and I personally had the pleasure of using the Crystal Hall as a venue for a major psychedelic exhibition, which I hosted and benefited from the restoration of the Hinsdale Haunted House in Hinsdale NY.. I know from this event some other events were added to their schedule due to exposure from my event, Including the Christmas Bazaar. Things seemed to be going well until the pandemic hit. I would love to see other big events come to Jamestown that help make these historic buildings and potential venues visible.
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