About 25 years ago, Lynn Lambrecht joined the Jamestown Downtown Association while working as the manager of White Drug, which at that time was located on First Avenue. She’s still working to improve the downtown, work that influenced her selection for the Above and Beyond Award from the Jamestown Area Chamber of Commerce.
Lambrecht received the award, which honors recent accomplishments, at the annual Chamber banquet on Thursday.
“Such an honor,” she said. “I just wasn’t expecting it, obviously. ... It just really doesn’t feel like I’m doing anything above and beyond ... Just doing what comes up and whatever needs to be done.”
In their nomination of her for the award, Monica Hieb and Nancy Miller cited Lambrecht’s work to make Jamestown a better place.
“Lynn is a perfect example of someone who goes above and beyond on a daily basis to enhance our community,” the nomination said.
Lambrecht is the president of the Jamestown Downtown Association board.
“You can find her downtown pulling weeds around the Art(s) Park and around the trees in the downtown area,” the nomination said.
Lambrecht is “the most knowledgeable person” about the city’s old buildings, the nomination said. It noted her work with CDBG grants to help businesses “expand and update.”
Lambrecht is quick to credit others’ support in her work with the Jamestown Downtown Association.
“I have an absolutely wonderful (JDA) board that supports me in every way. Family, my employer that lets me do these things. I’m hoping that whatever I’m doing is helping.”
Lambrecht said her youngest daughter, Keira, 13, asked her a month ago why she does all of the work that she does in the community. Lambrecht also serves on the Friends of the 1883 Courthouse Committee and Chamber Ag and Energy Committee and is involved with the James River Figure Skating Club.
“Because I care,” Lambrecht said. “I can’t sit back and just know that I could do something and not pitch in.”
She said this is a special time in working to improve the downtown.
“I’ve never felt in the last 20 years how much interest and how much support there is for Main Street endeavors as there is right now with the state and the Department of Commerce,” she said. “I just feel like we have a really good opportunity right now to get a lot of things done because there is so much interest in supporting main streets right now.”
She said the multiple projects going on right now in Jamestown are all good for the downtown and ultimately the city. Specifically, she mentioned Eagle Flats, a plan to build housing in the former Eagles location, Brian Lunde’s work to create another restaurant, CDBG grants to improve buildings and the planned “road diet” project to slow traffic on First Avenue.
“I think that’s going to be a catalyst, actually,” she said of the new restaurant. Businesses in that area where the new restaurant will be located (next to Gun and Reel) are looking at what they can do for their storefronts, she said.
The 2019 CDBG Jamestown Main Street Grant was for storefront renovation, essentially exterior and ADA projects, and three projects here were approved for grant funds, Lambrecht said: Nick Bruns’ insurance building on First Avenue, Orriginals storefront and the Lodge (the former Masonic Temple).
“A large part of her nomination that was discussed was her work with the CDBG grant for the facades downtown,” said Emily Bivens, executive director of the Jamestown chamber. "She partnered with the chamber, the city, JSDC (Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp.), there were quite a few partners with the downtown association to make that happen for Jamestown."
Lambrecht said the work is collaborative with groups, government and agencies.
“Everything’s collaborative,” she said. “Nothing happens without everyone working together.”
The Jamestown Downtown Association is a nonprofit association supported through memberships, Lambrecht said. There are currently 88 members and they are not confined to downtown businesses.
“It’s open to anybody that wants to contribute to promoting and vitalizing our downtown,” she said. “We think of downtown as belonging to the entire community. Because, obviously, it’s not insulated. Everybody from the community drives through it, everybody comes down to our restaurants, our bars, the (Hansen) Arts Park.”
She said the downtown association wants to encourage activity downtown that includes residential life, business life and investment opportunities in real estate.
“The best quote I have ever heard about downtown is that ‘A downtown of any city is the cover by which the book is judged,’” she said.
For Lambrecht, she said she sees her role as president of the downtown association as “kind of a champion for downtown progress, I suppose.” She said if there are projects that she thinks are going to help spur economic growth and quality of life for residents, she's going to "do whatever I can through our association to get those things done. Because that’s the only way a town grows. We have to grow from within.”
There’s also one project she’d like to see happen in the future.
“In my lifetime I’d like to see the Elks building come to life,” she said. “I remember looking at the Zappas building for so many years going ‘What can we do with this.’” The Zappas building is now Sabir’s Buffalo Grill.
She also believes the “road diet” project will make a significant difference to the downtown.
The road diet project will reduce traffic lanes on First Avenue to three (one turning lane), have bumpouts, widen parking spaces and make it safer for pedestrians to cross the street.
“The bumpouts are meant to subconsciously slow people down and so that’s all more conducive to businesses, Main Street type businesses, boutiques and things, in order to encourage that traffic, that retail traffic, that we all want,” she said.
Lambrecht said the community has been very supportive of other activities the association has brought downtown: Rods and Hogs, flower baskets, the Fourth of July kiddie parade, and helping with the Community Block Party, to name a few.
“There are lots of towns with our population that would love to have the historic main street that we have, some of the attractions that we have and the retail opportunities that we have,” she said.” We really do kind of have it all for a town of a little over 15,000, there’s not much that we’re lacking here.”
Lambrecht is the sales manager at i3G Media, where she has worked for 22 years. Her family, in addition to daughter Keira, includes her husband, Wade, and daughters Erika, 22, and Lara, 28, who live in Minneapolis.