Great cities have great public spaces – areas that function as civic living rooms and serve as places where ordinary and extraordinary interactions occur.
While lacking the central square or grassy commons that typically anchor a downtown, Jamestown processes many unique spaces made special by the city’s topography and history. Sloping brick streets and alleys, dramatic vistas, blocks framed by elegant architecture – these characteristics combine to create opportunities for great public spaces.
The JRC seeks ways to seize these opportunities and to develop spaces that are likely to boost investment in surrounding buildings and bolster pedestrian traffic. After all, great public spaces are meant to be experienced. And the more people you see on the street, the safer and more stimulating a city becomes.
Winter Garden Plaza
313 North Main Street
A 5,000 sq. ft. paved plaza with trees, stepped-seating, and great views of the surrounding cityscape, Winter Garden Plaza was built on the site of the old Winter Garden Theater. The theater was a fixture of the downtown entertainment scene for over 75 years. But after going dark in the early 1990s, the theater became a blight on Main St. After careful study of renovation options, the decision was made to bring the theater down and replace it with a public plaza. Phase One of the plaza project was completed in 2011. Today, the plaza features a patio for the Wine Cellar and space for community events. In addition, the space allows for passive enjoyment of the surrounding cityscape. In 2019, Phase Two of the Winter Garden Plaza project concluded, adding additional landscaping, seating, lighting, and a covered stage area. The plaza can be reserved for community events and offers access to electricity. [link to google form for reserving]
Downtown’s scenic alleys are a memorable part of the urban landscape. The JRC has managed five alleyway renovations, including installation of 63 pieces of student art at Potters gALLErY. Through partnership with the City of Jamestown Department of Public Works, Jamestown High School, JCC, Tom Mason, Vacanti’s Extreme Signs, Volt Vision, and the Gebbie Foundation, the JRC has turned Potters Alley into a gallery for superb art by local students.
Additional partnerships are being explored to further expand the amount of local artwork in our downtown area. Local artists, area Attractors, and staff and students from Jamestown Public Schools are working with JRC to add more art downtown for everyone to enjoy.
The Big Chair
Corner of W. 3rd St and Lafayette
Jamestown Renaissance Corporation (JRC) and Fancher Chair Co. Inc. are proud to honor Jamestown’s furniture history with the installation of an oversized chair at the corner of Third and Lafayette in Jamestown.
In an effort to expand public art in downtown Jamestown, a focal point of the new Jamestown Urban Design Plan 2.0, JRC approached Fancher Chair Co. with the idea of commissioning a large, historically accurate chair for downtown. Fancher Chair Co. was excited by the project, and took the lead in designing and then constructing a great new piece for downtown.
Kristy Kathman, JRC Deputy Director said, “I couldn’t be happier with the way this has turned out. Pete Scheira (President) and Gary Henry (CEO) at Fancher Chair Co. took a vague idea we had and turned it into a true work of art. They have been wonderful to work with, and created a beautiful piece of furniture sure to be enjoyed by everyone who sees it.”
Brian Millspaw, Master Sample Maker at Fancher Chair Co., created the chair based on a design from Jamestown Lounge Company known as the “club” chair. The chair is made of oak, and special glue for outdoor use was used. The chair will be permanently installed by Davis Concrete & Excavating.
Fancher Chair Co. Inc. has generously donated the chair to the community as a memorial to the history of the furniture industry of Jamestown and surrounding areas.
For a more in-depth look into the furniture industry of the Jamestown area, and the people who were behind it, check out the furniture exhibit at the Fenton History Center.
…and has become a favorite photo taking spot for both residents and visitors to Jamestown.
Corner of E.3rd St and Potters Alley
Also known as Aids Memorial Park, has been a downtown pocket park for over 30 years. The park was a raised wooden platform above what was left of a building’s foundation. The building was consumed by a fire years prior. The raised platform became structurally unsafe in 2019 and was removed in Spring of 2021. Plans for a new park are under development with construction in 2022 expected.