Councilor William Reynolds may not know it, but he just marked Jamestown free and, in our opinion, saved taxpayers $300,000.
Reynolds was trying to convince his fellow board members to spend ARPA’s federal funding on additional branding work.
Reynolds said the city’s low electricity rates, access to water, parks, educational opportunities, the National Comedy Center, proximity to the Chautauqua Institution and Chautauqua Lake, the The city’s police and fire department and the housing market are factors that should be encouraged to encourage people and businesses to move to Jamestown.
We don’t disagree with Reynolds. Each of these factors is a reason someone considers Jamestown a place to live, raise a family, or start a business. These are the positives of Jamestown – and no one had to be paid for the effort.
“If it’s well spent, I think we would reap the benefits of quality marketing and quality branding,” said Reynolds. “I would like to see the positives increase. There are more positives than negatives in our wonderful city.
The only problem with a branded effort is Reynolds’ qualification that the money be “well spent.” In our view, previous branding efforts have not been money well spent. Our population continued to decline. Our business community didn’t attract many people who didn’t already live here or had ties to it. The Discover Downtown jingle or the Jamestown Up Close videos did not create a rush for home buyers in Jamestown. And nothing about the effort we’ve seen so far convinces us that the current proposal will be money well spent, either. Branding needs to have an engagement way beyond that $300,000 request to have an effect on anyone who doesn’t already live here.
The finance committee members made the right decision by voting against additional funding for the rebrand.