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JAMESTOWN – Ground was broken Saturday on the $45 million National Commedy Center – a multifaceted project that features the renovation of two buildings and the construction of a new one.

The long-awaited beginning of the project comes during this year’s Lucille Ball Comedy Festival – the four-day showcase featuring comedy notables including Jerry Seinfeld. Regis Philbin, Melissa Rivers, Nick Offerman and Kelly Carlin.

The National Comedy Center, with completion projected for late 2016 or early 2017, is expected to draw 114,000 visitors each year with a $23 million annual boost to the local economy. The project also is forecast to generate 218 jobs and $6.5 million in wages yearly in Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Erie counties.

In December, the project was awarded $1.5 million by Empire State Development and Gov. Andrew Cuomo,

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