Four years ago this week, the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation and its partners began a project that has changed the face of North Main Street: the demolition of Winter Garden Theater and the construction of Winter Garden Plaza. After years as a great movie house, the Winter Garden became abandoned and blighted. After a thorough analysis of redevelopment costs and alternatives, it was decided that the site would be more productive to downtown Jamestown as a small park.
Since the plaza’s completion in 2011, it has hosted numerous activities including outdoor movies, the Active Artists Alliance’s Third Thursday concert series, Jamestown Now’s Sauce Off and Chalk Walk, and events during the Lucille Ball Comedy Festival. As a complementary feature to these activities, The Wine Cellar has a permanent outdoor beer garden in the plaza. The creation of the plaza has also boosted confidence on the entire block of North Main between 3rd and 4th, leading to a series of improvements to adjacent buildings.
The increase in activity at the Winter Garden Plaza can be seen as a microcosm for the downtown core and the city as a whole, which have received a boost from the revamped Lucille Ball Festival of Comedy, the launch of the Lucy Town Half-marathon and 5K, many new and exciting arts-related activities, and the opening and expansion of many businesses throughout Jamestown.
A more vibrant downtown is essential to a city’s success and the JRC continues to make strategic investments towards that end. This year we are adding a twist to our support of event programming in the downtown and along with riverfront with our Downtown/Riverfront Event Competition. This competition calls for event ideas from the community and the JRC will pull from a budget of $10,000 to fund the best ideas. Download the guidelines below and submit your ideas today.