The largest portion of Plattsburgh’s Downtown Redevelopment Initiative funds target the Durkee Street parking lot. At one end of the 3.4-acre site, there is currently a year-round farmers’ market that would be relocated under the developer’s proposed plans. During last week’s Common Council meeting, the city’s representatives took a walking tour of a potential site for the market.
The Plattsburgh Farmers and Crafters Market is open every Wednesday and Saturday. Established 30 years ago as an outdoor venue in a local park, it is now housed at an indoor-outdoor pavilion at the south end of the Durkee Street parking lot. The lot is a key focus of redevelopment under a $10 million Downtown Redevelopment Initiative grant.
But development plans for the site call for the relocation of the Farmers and Crafters Market. At last week’s common council meeting, Market Vice President and Manager Julie Baughn told city leaders that while relocation has been mentioned they had been told nothing definitive. "Is it something that we have to do? Well you just said it earlier so obviously we’re going to have to do it. And then it was brought up to build a building for us. We haven’t heard anything about that. I had to hear it from somebody else. The Plattsburgh Farmers and Crafters Market it’s a retail establishment. Our producers, our crafters, our bakers, our meat suppliers we’re there to make money. People go there to buy local which supports the community. You get rid of us it’s not going to benefit the community because you’re putting farmers with no place to sell in Plattsburgh. I just don’t understand why you can say that we worked with you to move when this is all new to us.”
Plattsburgh’s mayor and councilors left City Hall to take a walking tour of the site proposed for the relocated farmers market. They gathered at the waterfront near the marina. Adjacent is a large parking lot originally intended to service a hotel and convention center that was never built. Mayor Colin Read led councilors across the lot past the Amtrak station north toward the Saranac River and downtown. “Hey folks with regard to the new location for the farmer’s market one proposed location would be right along here. So they could park in either the marina over there or the parking here. Parking is a real big an important element for the farmer’s market. This would be really not in anybody’s way but still have really good access to the parking. And I think Councilor (Peter) Ensel has another location we’ll be looking at in a moment too.”
Ensel: “If we put it down here further we’ve talked about maybe a temporary…”
Councilor Rachelle Armstrong: “…footbridge!”
Councilor Ensel: “…footbridge over. And then you would also have access from the other footbridge…”
Armstrong: “That’s right.”
Ensel: “…coming down as well.”
Rachelle Armstrong: “So it would connect the sections of towns. Yeah I like that idea.”
Mayor Read: “We have to decide for the farmer’s market whether we build a permanent structure down here that can be moved or we find a location that we’re confident that’s going to accentuate and work with any other plan that might go down here. Now…”
Councilor Ensel: “Personally I think the farmer’s market needs to be further west. The further west it is the better I think the better within walking distance from...”
Read: “The nice thing about putting the farmer’s market a little bit farther down is you could park on either that lot or this lot and access is you can enter in kind of two ways.”
No decision was made regarding the relocation.