The city of Plattsburgh is working on expanding its marina on the Lake Champlain waterfront. The Common Council addressed two items on its agenda Thursday night that will move the plans forward.
During Thursday evening’s meeting city councilors approved an adjustment to the General Fund and Recreation Complex Fund budgets for marina insurance costs. They also approved a resolution authorizing the mayor to sign the findings of the State Environmental Quality Review for the proposed Marina Expansion Project. The SEQR is part of the permitting process and the latest move allows the city to continue with the expansion plans.
The city opened the marina in 2015 with 34 slips and 25 moorings. Now rented to capacity, an addition to 94 slips with dock space is planned.
Ward 2 Councilor Mike Kelly found the unbudgeted insurance cost adjustment a good opportunity to discuss marina expenses. “I was feeling somewhat skeptical about spending any more money to expand the marina. And we’re doing exactly what we said we would do. We’re paying the debt service each year. And this year it looks as though we’re going to clear around $20,000. And that’s exactly what we said we would do. And that encourages me that we do in fact need to expand and I believe we’ll even see more revenue as time goes by.”
Ward 1 Councilor Rachelle Armstrong quizzed Independent Mayor James Calnon over the size of the boats the expanded marina would service. “Will there be any length requirements for the types of boats? I mean we’re mainly accommodating boats that are 26 feet."
Calnon: "That remains to be seen. One of the reasons why the 26 foot boat limit was put in was because we were contemplating accessing…/Armstrong: The big grant/… a boating infrastructure grant. The other is obviously when you’re renting space based on the length of the boat, the longer the boat…./Armstrong: It’s more profitable/….the more money you do make."
Armstrong: "We service those people who have the larger boats who may not be from our area. I would really like to see that those people who are boaters who live right here as well will have a place to dock.”
Ward 4 Councilor Paul O’Connell jumped in. “Most small boat owners are not going to moor their boat. /Armstrong: OK./ They’re not going to dock their boat. They’ll just want to go in and out and they’ll want to trailer it. That’s something to think about.”
Plattsburgh Superintendent of Recreation Steve Peters says while procedural, the agenda items are integral to advancing the expansion. He calls the marina an anchor for the downtown’s economy. “The intent of the marina is economic development, to get people to our downtown. Pun intended it’s an anchor for our downtown, right, and it’s something that we really can use as a jumping off point for some just tremendous opportunities that the city of Plattsburgh has. This project expanding the marina. We’ve got the downtown revitalization initiative. We’ve got projects at the city beach in the hopper. The future of this region is just so bright and so interesting and really the marina was a low hanging fruit that we grabbed and that’s the beginning. It’s exciting to see that happen.”
Two councilors, Democrat Joshua Kretser and Republican Dale Dowdle, suggested the council schedule a work session dedicated solely to the marina expansion.