JAMESTOWN, NY (WNY News Now) – Organizers with the Chautauqua County Land Bank addressed the Jamestown City Council earlier in the week asking for one million dollars in American Rescue Plan Act funds, showcasing where they stand after over ten years of service.
While the Landbank operates across Chautauqua County to fight cases of blight, they spend over half of their time in the City of Jamestown.
“Primarily our mission is to help fight issues of blight in the communities across the county,“ explained Land Bank Executive Director Gina Paradis. “We work very very closely with all of the municipalities, I would say that I probably spend about 65 percent of my time in the City of Jamestown, and probably another 30 percent of my time with the City of Dunkirk.”
In the past ten years alone, Paradis explains that the Landbank has made a considerable stake in the City of Jamestown.
“Over the last 10 years, we have invested over $11 million dollars into the City of Jamestown,“ stated Paradis.”
One major commitment the landbank has done is demolition, an act that is costly but needs to be done.
“We put $2.7 million dollars into the demolition of almost 100 homes in Jamestown over the past ten years,“ explained Paradis. “We know that there’s a glep of structurally unsound and blighted properties that need to come down. They need to come down for safety reasons. They need to come down to keep the taxpayer dollars down, and try to deal with the types of illicit activities that are attracted, and the fire and safety hazards that come with these derelage properties.”
In the end, the Chautauqua County Landbank is looking for $1,000,000 in ARPA monies to fund a slew of programs over a four-year time period.
“Housing is a very very expensive thing to intervene in,“ stated Paradis. “We’ve got critical issues throughout the county, and it’s very very difficult for municipalities to have the resources, much less the Landbank.”
Of the programs the Landbank has launched, one is the Hands on Neighborhoods program which is only a shell of what it is supposed to be.