Thread: Plattsburgh, NY
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Old 07-09-2016, 10:00 PM   #1
kingofsheeba
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Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Charlestown
Posts: 209
Plattsburgh, NY

http://www.northcountrypublicradio.o...ew-city-center

Wanted to put this in the Burlington, VT thread seeing that it's virtually right across Lake Champlain. But I used to live in the Burgh. Good to see the them coming into their own.


Quote:
Plattsburgh wins $10 million for a new city center
by Zach Hirsch (Plattsburgh Correspondent) , in Plattsburgh, NY

A $10 million grant will help Plattsburgh turn a downtown parking lot into an urban center.

Jul 07, 2016 — The City of Plattsburgh has won a $10 million grant to help transform a parking lot into a hip, urban center. The project includes plans for a multi-story building that can be used for retail, housing, and offices. There would also be green space, an art walk, a trail along the Saranac River, and possibly a parking garage. The new features would replace the existing, 2.5-acre parking lot on Durkee Street, and the hope is to attract new visitors and boost the area's economy.

The idea to redevelop the Durkee Street parking lot has been around for more than a decade. Over the years, lots of people have said it’s a waste of space, and it should be for people, not their cars.

City officials recently breathed new life into that vision. In May they applied for a grant from the state’s brand new Downtown Revitalization Initiative.

The results came sooner than expected. Governor Andrew Cuomo delivered the good news in Plattsburgh on Wednesday. “Congratulations, you won that $10 million grant, and you deserve it,” he said.


Cuomo spoke at the Strand Theater, standing at a podium on the big stage – almost as if it were a performance. It really was kind of unreal for the city officials and business owners in the audience. They kept cheering and clapping, and they seemed giddy as Cuomo doled out praise for what the city’s already done to improve the downtown.

“You have the Saranac River, you have Lake Champlain, you have all sorts of cute stores that have opened up on their own. You have young people. You have a sense of vibrancy and energy that is in the air, that you can feel,” he said.

The $10 million grant is a jumpstart. City officials are still looking for private investors and more state funding. They say they’re not sure how much more funding they’ll need to make the new city center a reality. But Mayor Jim Calnon says he’s confident the project will go forward, thanks to this initial state funding. When he stepped up to say a few words, all he could do was breathe a sigh of relief, drawing laughter and applause.

What the center will actually look like isn’t set in stone just yet. It’s still early, and at this stage there are four or five different versions of the plan. Speaking with reporters, Calnon said this could really transform the downtown.


“We know that we want to increase the open space that’s usable for people. We want to be able to have the ability if we have a mind to, to have an ice rink downtown in the wintertime. Or to have a starting point for a race of 1500 people without having to clog up a street. Or a place to have a concert,” he said.

Calnon and other officials are thinking big. Plans for the city center also include a new trail and recreation area along the Saranac River, where people can rent kayaks in the summer. There might also be an art walk, a new area for crafts and farmers’ markets, and a building with apartments and stores. “Things that people enjoy, that they can walk out and see people and do things with people and have a glass of wine and all the things that are there,” Calnon said.

Parking would either be in a new, three-story garage built on site, or spread out across the downtown.

City officials will get started on planning and zoning by early next year. In the meantime they’ll be gathering input from the public.

Plattsburgh is the first of ten cities from around the state to win the Downtown Revitalization contest. This year it’ll be the only city in the North Country that gets the $10 million grant.
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