Plattsburgh officials hold stakeholder meeting as major street project is set to start
Reconstruction of Margaret Street in Plattsburgh is set to start on Monday. The street is one of the main downtown thoroughfares and businesses have been warned there will be disruptions during the project. City officials hosted a meeting Wednesday night to discuss the imminent start of the project with business owners, landlords and stakeholders along the street corridor.
The $12.4 million Margaret Street Project will repave the street between Cornelia and Broad Streets and replace more than century-old water and sewer infrastructure.
The meeting began with C&S Companies Project Engineer Kelli McArdell reviewing the timeline.
“How this schedule’s going to work on this project is at the end of year one we’re hoping to be substantially complete. What that means is there’s still a few loose ends on the project that may occur. So there may be a few outstanding things that may get pushed into a year two.”
A key concern for businesses is the replacement of the old water lines. Plattsburgh Assistant Superintendent of Public Works Andrew Durrin said they intend to minimize any impacts.
“They disconnect your service line and they hook the new service line up to the new water main. So your interruption should be very minimal, probably anywhere from 2 hours to 4 hours depending on any issues that they run into. We’re going to be going around door-to-door talking to everybody to find out when the best time is going to be especially for restaurants.”
The presentation continued with a review of the day-to-day schedule. Construction work is anticipated to occur between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., excluding weekends and holidays. Adjusted traffic patterns, dust reduction, parking availability, accommodating deliveries during construction and site safety were also outlined. Some businesses wanted more details while several expressed frustration about potential loss of revenue.
Twisted Carrot owner Bevan Cochran told Durrin that he wanted assurances he would receive timely updates.
“It’s important to let us know what’s going to happen, when it’s going to happen and how it’s going to happen because we rely on that stuff during the summertime to make it so that we’re able to survive during the wintertime. OK?”
“Right," replied Durrin. "Not only myself but hiring C&S as the construction inspection we asked them to put a third person on this job and that person’s job is to make sure that they are working with you guys to make sure that you’re informed. So you will be notified hey in two week’s time, in three week’s time, we are going to be pulling your sidewalk. I will make sure that that happens personally.”
Aleka’s restaurant owner Peter Kritziotis vented his concerns to Mayor Chris Rosenquest about the economic impact of the project.
“There’s got to be some kind of monetary help that the government can give us. And my last question, I promise, can we file a class action suit against the city?”
“Sure," acknowledged mayor Rosenquest. "Okay here’s the thing. Pete, you were at Lake Country Village, okay.”
“I know," Kritziotis recalled. "It sucked.”
“Exactly," Rosenquest noted. "For years and years and years, that system had failed. What we’re looking at here is a similar situation. You want to sue the city and stop the project I don’t understand that.”
“I get it. I get it. But here’s the thing," countered Kritziotis. "Nobody’s answering this question: if you’ve got this budget to build these streets and sidewalks, do you have a budget to compensate some of these businesses? We are going to lose potentially five months of what carries us for the year.”
Antique and Variety Mall owner Steve Brodie told city officials that every business is concerned about lost revenues.
“I hear Peter’s pain and I think everybody here that owns a business is really worried because summer is the bread and butter time. This is a $12 million project and a big step for the city but it’s the small businesses on the street that are going to take the hit. I’ve already lost $600 the minute the guys, I usually rent out booths to vendors on the sidewalk underneath our canopy, seen the construction sign we don’t want to rent the booths. I lost $600 in one day with one sign. So to ask the city to give up parking that they’re charging for, why shouldn’t the city take a little hit.”
Construction on the Margaret Street Project begins Monday.