The mission of the Chautauqua Safety Village is to promote the well-being of children and community members through a wide range of experiential safety training and services.
Here is a quick example of the different things children do while they are here for lessons.
We are welcoming, flexible, and inclusive to all community members.
Being cutting edge
We offer state of the art, creative, and fun learning experiences.
We model positive behavior by being transparent and honest.
We are dependable and offer the highest quality trainings and services.
We educate the community on safety skills which can save lives.
In 1996, members from the Sertoma Club of Jamestown visited the impressive Waterloo Safety Village in Canada. Upon their return, they approached Sheriff Joe Gerace about starting a similar village in Chautauqua County. After further research, Sheriff Gerace was convinced, and stated “we have to do something like this for the children in our community.”
A 501C-3 organization was formed with a board of local community members. After years of meetings and generous community efforts, twenty-six 12′ x 24′ concrete slabs were poured on the 5-acre piece of property next to the Hewes Educational Facility in Ashville, NY. Herman Kent Post 777 was the first to build an on-site miniature building, followed by the AAA and the Jamestown Chapter of Credit Unions. Upon receiving the TEP Grant, a $1.76 million federal award, the educational and storage facility used to house the cars, bikes, and “Safety Village Express” train was built.
After years of work, the Chautauqua Safety Village now includes paved roads, sidewalks, street signs, a railroad crossing, streetlights, a four-way traffic signal, and additional new building sites for sponsors. The village is busy with children driving electric cars along its streets, pedestrians crossing the crosswalks, and bicyclists demonstrating their hand signals. The main education facility, sponsored by DFT Communications, houses the newly renovated lobby, two classrooms, a mock apartment, a conference room, restrooms, and more. Students are taught fire, traffic, poison, and gun safety in a variety of fun ways, including practicing a fire escape under simulated smoke, an exhibit with the children’s favorite, “Sparky the Fire Dog,” and the state of the art interactive floor.
Since opening in Fall 2010, over 31,000 children have visited the village, and countless more have felt the community impact.
2021 Board of Directors
John Felton – President
Doug Fricke – Vice-President
Amy Harding – Treasurer
Hyla Brinkley – Secretary
Angelica Peck – Board Member
Joe Gerace – Board Member
Cathy Abers-Kimball – Board Member
Marcia Restivo – Board Member
Brenda Tarana – Board Member
Sheryl Waterman – Board Member
Paul Mihalko – Board Member
Curtis Reynolds – Board Member
Chautauqua Safety Village Staff
Diane Miraglia – Educator/Program Coordinator
Dena Hirliman – Community Outreach Coordinator
Jessica Dayton – Executive Director