Plattsburgh Downtown Revitalization Planning Committee Holds Initial Meeting
Plattsburgh was one of 10 communities statewide to win $10 million under the governor’s $100 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative. This afternoon, the local planning committee held an organizational meeting with the consulting team, state officials and the public to kick off the planning process.
On July 6th Governor Cuomo announced that the city of Plattsburgh had won the North Country competition to receive the grant to revitalize the community. It includes up to $300,000 in funds for private sector experts to help draft a plan.
The 18-member local planning committee heard an overview of the process and the roles of the various agencies. HR & A is working with the state and the city on the project. Partner-in-Charge Kate Collignon explained what needs to be done before February. “Today is really about nuts and bolts. What are we going to be doing over the course of this process? I'm going to talk a little bit about the Downtown Revitalization Initiative to give you some parameters for the program, it's intent. We're going to talk a little bit about our understanding of the project context based frankly on your application. And what we've heard so far are some of the key strategies that you've already identified as priorities for downtown and very importantly some priority projects that are already under discussion that we know that we're going to want to look at among others. We're going to then talk about what is our work plan going forward.”
Following the presentation the consultants took questions from the panel and sought ideas for redevelopment that may not be in the initial application. When the session opened for public comment some offered ideas, others concerns. “Some of you know me, Dan Mills, I’m an assistant professor of environmental planning. You've got a very short time span. There are people whose lives are going to be impacted directly. There's also the people who currently living downtown and I don't want to have to bring up the G word but the current debates and arguments over the processes of gentrification that happen as a result of economic development. The second point that I will make is to think more broadly in terms of how you define the downtown as a social ecological system. And the third thing as a faculty member is don't underestimate the students.”
“My name is Laurie Saunders. I'm not a resident of the city. I am not a businessman, arts community member. Here's what I am. I am your city user. I have the disposable income. Like me now? (Laughter) And I will be honest as a user with a grandchild I don't come to your city with her. It's not user friendly. I have to walk uphill almost everywhere. Just a thought for the developers.”
Plattsburgh Community Development Director Paul DeDominicas says the timeline is governed by the agencies and geared toward implementation. “While the timeline is aggressive and I certainly appreciate that we all need to talk about what needs to happen but I think part of the acceleration is the idea that we've had planning but then we're really at a point where we can put some of those things in motion.”
The meeting was live-streamed and anarchive is available on the city of Plattsburgh’s website.