Plattsburgh Common Council debates Margaret Street reconstruction project
The city of Plattsburgh is planning to rebuild its main downtown street. The two-year Margaret Street Project plan includes repaving the street and replacing century-old water and sewer infrastructure. At the latest Common Council meeting, five proposals to initiate the project were tabled.
During his State of the City address last week Mayor Chris Rosenquest, a Democrat, called the Margaret Street Project one of three priorities the city plans to initiate over the next year.
“From the beginning I said it very clearly this is going to be a major interruption to our downtown. Major. The primary purpose of this is to replace 1903 water-sewer infrastructure that services one of the most critical business districts that we have in our city.”
Later that day, five resolutions were before the Common Council to approve that would start the Margaret Street Project including an appropriation of $12.4 million for project construction, $2.9 million in bonds plus $2.1 million for Margaret Street water system improvements.
As the discussion on the first resolution began Ward 3 Democrat Elizabeth Gibbs said she had a number of questions about the project.
“I think the scope of the project is too large. I think we’re taking on too much debt. I’m not saying that Margaret Street shouldn’t be redone because I agree that the full depth reconstruction needs to be done. But the scope of this project is large and just about half of it is going to be debt. I didn’t have enough time to read everything over but I have too many questions and I still have more to digest.”
Ward 6 Democrat Jeff Moore said he would not vote on the Margaret Street Project resolutions and proposed tabling them.
“I did not see all the monetary details and I want to do some math on this and I haven’t had a chance to go through all the material. I know that we need to do the project. But I do want to look at this thoroughly. This is the largest project I can remember ever being in Plattsburgh. And I don’t think the numbers that I saw, and not seeing both bids or any bids for any of this work, I think we need to go over this very carefully.”
Mayor Rosenquest reminded councilors that the project had been outlined to the council early in 2022.
“We’ve been working on this for a year, more than a year so none of this is brand new. You’ve been involved in this.”
“But not to this level," rebutted Moore. "Now I’m seeing the numbers. I’m seeing the things that we’re going to do specifically.”
Ward 2 Democrat Mike Kelly said the project is a critical part of the city’s efforts to revitalize the downtown.
“The interesting thing about this is nobody said that they’re opposed to the project. We’re unanimous that we want to do it and we all see the benefit of doing it.”
The motion to table passed on a 5 to 1 vote, with Kelly opposed.
The remaining four resolutions related to the Margaret Street Project were also tabled.
The resolutions will be reconsidered at the Plattsburgh Common Council’s next meeting on March 15th.