Pictured (l to r):  Vice-President Kevin Sixbey, Crystal Surdyk, and President-Elect Joni Blackman
Kevin Sixbey introduced our speaker, Crystal Surdyk.  Ms. Surdyk is the interim Director of Development for the City of Jamestown.  She has a background in urban design planning and related tasks.  
Imagine Jamestown Ideas Competition is an ongoing initiative of the Strategic Planning & Partnerships Commission. In each competition cycle, there will be different themes based on community and quality of life issues and challenges which need addressing.
The purpose of the competition is to engage, educate and empower the community to participate in a creative idea generating initiative that addresses real quality of life concerns. The Imagine Jamestown Ideas Competition will serve as a platform to begin a dialogue about issues that our city is facing and how collectively and collaboratively, we can develop solutions.
The focus of the 2020 Ideas Competition: Imagine Jamestown is designing sustainable, livable and remarkable neighborhoods in Jamestown, New York.  
After a few initial meetings, the Strategic Planning & Partnerships Commission decided to find a project that would engage the entire community.  Ms. Surdyk has been involved in a number of different competitions in the Buffalo area that are similar to Imagine Jamestown.  She brought some experience to the process.  
As the commission moved forward with ideas, it was decided to focus on the city’s housing issues such as addressing vacant lots, deteriorating housing, etc.  
The City is comprised of dozens of diverse neighborhoods.  There is a clear distinction between neighborhoods, however, and many struggle with an overabundance of distressed houses and buildings, many of which are rental properties that have been neglected for decades by absentee, unqualified, or financially strapped landlords who won’t or can’t reinvest in their properties.
Addressing abandoned properties and blight in the City’s neighborhoods through targeted demolition has been a top priority in the revitalization efforts that the City has spearheaded. The City has made significant efforts to acquire and demolish run-down homes in blighted areas creating opportunities for new development and/or infill housing to replace the substandard housing these demolitions eliminate.
The Imagine Jamestown Ideas Competition will challenge entrants to submit proposals that incorporate one or more of the following strategies as a viable solution for rebuilding strong neighborhoods:​
  1. Infill housing
  2. Rehabilitation/retrofitting of existing housing stock
  3. Repurposing of vacant parcels
  4. Reuse of building(s) or site(s)
  5. A combination of one or more of the above
The competition will have a judges panel as well.  The awards celebration will be in May – date and time TBD.  There will be prizes and everyone who enters will be recognized at the awards event.  Imagine Jamestown is still looking for sponsorships to help cover the cost of the awards.  If interested, please contact Ms. Surdyk.    
Submissions for the competition are due on April 17 at 5pm.  As a point of information, the Commission cannot guarantee that the winning submission will be implemented.  But, the commission will work with the award winner to help implement their idea.  This might include getting people connected to the right principles or even helping them look after getting funding for the project.  
For more information on this exciting initiative, please visit their web site at https://www.imaginejamestownny.com/.