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North Country Chamber hosts leaders of city, town and county for annual community update

From left: Mayor Chris Rosenquest, Supervisor Michael Cashman and Legislature Chair Mark Henry answer questions after delivering state of community addresses
Pat Bradley
From left: Mayor Chris Rosenquest, Supervisor Michael Cashman and Legislature Chair Mark Henry answer questions after delivering state of community addresses

After virtual addresses last year, the leaders of the Clinton County Legislature, the Supervisor of the Town of Plattsburgh and the mayor of the city of Plattsburgh jointly delivered addresses on the state of their municipalities today. Business and local leaders gathered for the North Country Chamber event this morning.

The leaders of the North Country’s largest communities say despite the pandemic the city, and town of Plattsburgh and Clinton County are doing well.

Republican Clinton County Legislature Chair Mark Henry said he would focus on budgets, borders, business and buildings.

“We are stable. We are optimistic and we are confident in our future for many reasons. The county is in an excellent financial position to provide the critical services that our residents demand and deserve. We have a budget that meets our needs and provides stability that residents and businesses can count on."

Henry continued, "We will soon be building infrastructure to support exciting new projects. Our airport has been improved. We are close to achieving a new air service route. We are confident that soon the U.S. Canadian border will reopen. Cross border trade and travel will soon become more normalized.”

Plattsburgh Mayor Chris Rosenquest noted that a final draft of the comprehensive master plan is out for final review. He also outlined key investments the city made in 2021.

“Where did our money go? What did we invest in last year? Forty million dollars into water systems, both in sourcing and in treating. Three point six million dollars in our road infrastructure. We spent a significant amount of money securing our internal IT infrastructure. And then the amount of money that we did invest in our waterfront. Some of the quality of life projects that we finished the Saranac River Trail Phase Two. It now connects downtown all the way up to SUNY as a walking trail, biking, multi-modal path. It’s a fantastic quality of life piece that we’ll continue to work on going into this year.”

As for 2022, the first-term Democrat said there are a number of initiatives he will put before the city council with an aim of improving quality of life in the city.

“I’m asking this council to invest $1.5 million into our parks and green spaces. That’s a lot of money but a $1.5 million investment into our parks and green spaces goes a very long way for impacting our quality of life, being more of an attractive community and being a community where job creators want their people to live," Mayor Rosenquest added, "I’m asking this council to also invest $2 million into municipal broadband. It’s more for the city’s security than anything else but then that expands the city’s opportunity to provide free WiFi citywide. And then finally $250,000 back into our zoning and planning. Zoning and planning codes are so outdated that it’s more of a deterrent to come and invest and we have developable property.”

Democratic Plattsburgh Supervisor Michael Cashman said the town is hyper-focused on infrastructure investments. He says despite COVID, the town continued to see business investment.

“Four hundred seventy-seven building permits last year. Slightly lower than the year before. Over 200,000 square feet of new to the town and 35 million value added to the Town of Plattsburgh. I mean it’s incredible. We’re talking about during times of a global pandemic. And at some portions of the year, remember the lumber costs, people were still leaning in saying Plattsburgh is the place that we want to do business. We want to be here. We want to invest here. We want to build here. The Town of Plattsburgh also adopted our Elevate Plattsburgh Town Center Smart Growth plan and this Smart Growth plan is already working.”

Questions from local business and agencies ranged from child care to workforce development.

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