Chamber Corner 12/29/13
2013 a positive year for Chautauqua County
Some very positive things have happened in our county in the past year and the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce and Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier are honored to have played a role in some of them.
The very recent announcement surrounding the repowering of the Dunkirk NRG plant is a tremendous gift to all of Chautauqua County. We are proud to have played a role in helping to coordinate advocacy and community support for this important project. A private investment of this type into a Chautauqua County facility is a huge plus for our county, as is the ability to continue producing electric power that is so badly needed.
2013 saw a tremendous ramp-up of the Chautauqua STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Education Coalition, with the hiring of a director. Dr. Peter Beeson has been on the job since spring, working with schools, businesses, and other stakeholders in the community. The STEM Coalition is an outgrowth of the Chamber/MAST Dream It Do It Initiative, which was formed several years ago. Our focus is on improving the quality of the workforce in our community, essentially by starting with students who are still in school and may be considering trade educations. DIDI has measured some amazing success with the growth in enrollment in the certificate and degree programs through the Jamestown Community College Manufacturing Technology Institute. We expect the STEM Coalition work to expand on that in additional educational arenas.
We are similarly proud of our work in the past year that allowed us to roll with the tremendous changes in the health insurance field. Fortunately, the Chamber was already aligned with Liazon to provide quality health insurance offerings that were all compliant with the new Affordable Care Act regulations through an exchange system. In addition, the advent of the ACA caused us to act quickly and in alignment with other Chambers of Commerce and community partners such as the Small Business Development Corporation to provide additional service through the New York State of Health exchange. We anticipate working more year-round in the health insurance field for businesses in the future because of these changes.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our Chamber/MAST members for your support in the past year. We wish you all a very happy and prosperous new year ahead.
Reduced Jamestown-Cleveland air fares make economic sense
The Chautauqua County Airport and United Airlines have made a positive move for business and tourism travelers in our region. United Airlines is now offering $49 one-way, nonstop flights between Jamestown and Cleveland. The reduced fares require a 21-day advance purchase and are good until Feb. 15.
The reduced fares have been under discussion since August when the Airport Commission was hearing from several airlines interested in providing service here. The current provider is Silver Airways, a subsidiary of United. All flights for this low rate can be booked through United.com.
The Chautauqua County Airport is an important economic asset for our county. As travel is such an important part of doing business in our global economy, this is a tremendous boon for businesses. It is true that the number of passengers using commercial flights in and out of Jamestown has dropped in recent years. At the same time, freight service is booming, and private plane use the facility as well for several local corporations.
Kudos to the Airport Commission and to Airport Manager Sam Arcadipane for negotiating this package! On the job for just over a year, Arcadipane has worked hard to find ways to keep the airport viable and increase air travel to and from the County Airport.
Arcadipane said, “This price makes our local airport very competitive. You can’t drive to Cleveland and park your car at the airport for the price of this fare. This is a tremendous offer for local travelers, and we hope a lot of people will take advantage of it.”
Doors Open Jamestown coming in January
The very popular Doors Open Jamestown will be back again in 2014. The date has been set for Saturday, Jan. 18. Doors Open is designed to give area residents a look into our local attractions, with free admission for the day to demonstrate the many tremendous tourism opportunities right here in our own backyard.
Sponsored by the Jamestown Community Chamber of Commerce, Doors Open has grown substantially since it first began. Locations participating this year are: Audubon Center and Sanctuary, Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame, Fenton History Center, Gateway Train Station, Infinity Performing Arts, Jamestown Savings Bank Arena, Lucille Ball Little Theatre, Lucille M. Wright Air Museum, Lucy-Desi Center for Comedy, Prendergast Library, Reg Lenna Center for the Arts, Robert H. Jackson Center and Roger Tory Peterson Institute for Natural History. Many of the participating venues will offer specials in their gift shops or prize drawings, and local businesses and restaurants will offer Doors Open specials as well. Watch for more details to come, but save the date Jan. 18 for Doors Open Jamestown!