I was motivated to write this article after seeing several posts about Polar King closing, the Parks and Rec survey, and the success of the Downtown Arts Market program. At a meeting a few years ago, a city council member stated, “It isn’t the responsibility of the city to recruit people to work/live in Jamestown, local businesses are in charge of that.”
A panel discussion covered in The Sun on April 28, 2018, discussed keeping and attracting young people to Jamestown. To sum up the discussion, it came down to competitive salaries, affordable housing and business hours. The underlying tone of the article was that people need businesses to be open, places to go and things to do, areas to have experiences and create a connection.
Nostalgia plays an interesting role in Jamestown. The closing of Polar King, a Jamestown staple, is disappointing. The connections the community has to Polar King are nostalgic. People bring up memories, experiences and the happiness tied to this restaurant.
People want experiences. The success of the Downtown Arts Market is a great example. The success of this is driven by the experience had there. Experiences lead to nostalgia. When my wife’s relatives stop back in Jamestown, we are required to go to Polar King as they had grown up with it. They want that experience again. We started going to the Arts Market for the live music and now make a fun evening out of it. New people moving into a city with no connections to the community have an easier time leaving than someone who develops sentiment for effects in the community. People not familiar with Polar King won’t develop the nostalgia for it. A connection to the Arts Market can develop that nostalgic feeling.
Jamestown population has remained the same for 60 years and most likely won’t change. We can expect businesses to recruit people for open positions. However, people spend more time outside of work than at work. The city and community need to work toward more opportunities to create nostalgia. Events and ideas can fail. They were at least attempted. I believe the community can improve the experience living here. We can give the benefit of the doubt to a new or existing business/event/idea. We are open to new opportunities. Take the Parks and Rec survey, talk to your city leaders and give suggestions to businesses. Follow up on an idea. “Jamestown has always done it this way” is not an acceptable answer from people in leadership roles. Let’s create new experiences, build that nostalgia for people coming into Jamestown and make it an area people can create their own “Snicker’s Arctic Swirl and a side of corn nuggets” memories.