Approval recommended to fund Frontier Village's General Store startup costs

Jan. 24—JAMESTOWN — The Jamestown Civic Center and Promotion Committee unanimously recommended approval on Tuesday, Jan. 24, of Jamestown Tourism's request for $30,000 to be used for startup inventory at the Frontier Village's General Store.

If approved by the Jamestown City Council, the funds will be paid from the city of Jamestown's general fund.

The Civic Center and Promotion Committee also recommended approval to create Frontier Village revenue and expense sections within the city of Jamestown's general fund. Mayor Dwaine Heinrich said if the City Council decided to have funds transferred there would be some place to account for them in the general fund.

He said the funds are not budgeted for 2023 but he supports the idea. He said the City Council will need to deal with where the money will come from.

The plan is for the General Store to reopen this year. The General Store will sell ice cream, desserts and souvenirs to visitors of Frontier Village, according to its business plan. The products sold will represent Jamestown and North Dakota. Souvenirs include shirts, mugs and drinkware, stickers, postcards and toys.

The General Store's target audience is the 124,000 visitors who stop at Frontier Village, the National Buffalo Museum and the World's Largest Buffalo, according to the business plan. The main demographic includes families with children ages 2 to 15 and the second demographic consists of retired people touring the U.S.

Jamestown Tourism feels like the General Store could become a revenue stream for Frontier Village, said Emily Bivens, executive director for the Jamestown Area Chamber of Commerce and Jamestown Tourism.

Councilman David Steele said with the improvements and more activities to do at Frontier Village, he said visitors will stay there longer. He said Frontier Village needs to accumulate funds first to be a self-sustaining business.

"I'm all for promoting what they are trying to do up there," he said.

The Civic Center and Promotion Committee unanimously recommended approving Jamestown Tourism's requests for an additional $32,000 to fund a portion of the salaries of two positions at the Frontier Village with the funds being paid from the city's general fund.

If approved by the City Council, $12,000 will be used to fund a portion of the maintenance manager's salary and $20,000 will go toward the visitor experience manager's salary. The funding is contingent on creating Frontier Village revenue and expense sections within the city of Jamestown's general fund.

Bivens said the maintenance position is a full-time job and Jamestown Tourism entered into a partnership with the National Buffalo Museum, which will contribute toward the salary. She said the current employee is a "jack of all trades."

The maintenance manager is responsible for maintenance projects and duties primarily at Frontier Village and other sites only as assigned, visitor experience and operations, according to the job description.

She said current Jamestown Tourism employee Allison Limke, visitor experience manager, will take on the responsibility of managing and operating the General Store. The visitor experience manager is responsible for programs and education duties, grant process and monitoring, visitor information and operations.

Steele asked if the request for funds for the two positions will be a yearly request.

Bivens said the idea is for the Frontier Village to have its own revenue stream to cover the cost of some of the items.

In other business, the Jamestown Finance and Legal Committee unanimously recommended approval of a second one-year extension to the memorandum of agreement between Stutsman County and the city of Jamestown on the joint provision of library services extending by one year the date each entity may provide a notice of intent to withdraw to March 3, 2024.

If approved by the City Council, the city attorney would be directed to write the extension of the memorandum of agreement.

The Stutsman County Commission will also need to approve the one-year extension.

The Finance and Legal Committee unanimously recommended approval of a joint powers agreement with the Jamestown Parks and Recreation District for the funding, repair and replacement of pedestrian bridges in parks in Jamestown.

The mayor and city administrator would also be authorized to sign the agreement.

The city of Jamestown was an applicant of a grant to assist with replacing bridges at Klaus, McElroy and Nickeus parks. The cost to replace three bridges is more than $1.6 million.

The city of Jamestown will be allowed to let contractors bid on the project to replace all three bridges with the one at McElroy Park being an alternative.