MAYVILLE – Looking towards 2022, Chautauqua County’s Executive hopes to strengthen our communities, grow our economy, and invest in our future.
Executive PJ Wendel outlined his goals for the upcoming year during his State of the County Address this week.
One way in which Wendel hopes to strengthen our communities is through enhancing the healthcare system, by expanding behavioral health services in northern Chautauqua County to help alleviate additional strain.
“Next, we will continue to work with DHHS, Chautauqua County Department of Mental Hygiene, Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office, and our local partners, and providers to address the concerns of the behavioral health needs and the drug epidemic here in Chautauqua County,” says Wendel.
The Executive noted the importance of collaboration between law enforcement agencies.
“The Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office was awarded the Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Program (COSSAP) grant to confront the drug epidemic in a Smart on Crime holistic approach,” says Wendel. “The Sheriff’s Office will be working with a variety of service providers and organizations in the county to address and reduce the issues associated with the drug epidemic.”
Accessibility to physical and behavioral health services for north country residents will also improve with the anticipated sale of the former Lake Shore Hospital. Additionally, Wendel is hopeful that state funding will come through for relocating Brooks Memorial Hospital.
The county is also supporting the Strong Starts Chautauqua program which develops the physical and mental strength of children from birth to the age of five. Chautauqua County will also assist homeowners in their homes.
“The Health Department, in partnership with the City of Jamestown Department of Development, was awarded a $2 million Healthy Homes HUD grant,” says Wendel. “This grant will assist city homeowners and rental property owners with improving their properties and eliminating health and safety issues in their homes.”
Wendel hopes to expand sewer and water systems, broadband, and encourage tourism. To expand broadband, Chautauqua County will be partnering with ECC Technologies to conduct a survey, which will accurately map the needs of the county.
The public transportation system will also be revamped for those who live in the area as well as those who hope to visit.
The Executive has his sights set on a strong economic future for the county, starting with new developments.
“Going forward our CCIDA has goals to acquire large parcels of land for expansion of shovel ready sites,” explains Wendel. “They are also in the process of re-activating several high profile buildings, including: the Furniture Mart Building, White Inn, former Silver Creek High School, ConAgra Building, and former NRG power facility.”
Finally, workforce development initiatives will be expanded to provide qualified candidates for jobs in Chautauqua County.