A new coalition has formed to unify the groups that are opposed or concerned about the current downtown redevelopment plans in Plattsburgh.
The Plattsburgh Citizens’ Coalition announced its formal creation on Thursday. The group hopes to advance the interests of downtown businesses, residents, employees and visitors that believe the current development approved for the Durkee Street parking lot does not measure up. AES Northeast has offices on City Hall Place, half a block from the proposed development. Managing Partner Scott Allen, president of the newly formed coalition, says the group is not opposed to redevelopment and in the past encouraged it. “Neither nor anyone I’ve talked with envisioned that the city council would go against earlier recommendations and promote a wholesale sellout of one of the city’s most important assets: the Durkee lot. We didn’t know how big a giveaway the city council was planning until we read the RFP (“Request For Proposals”) issued to developers last fall. Up until that time we believed that the development would proceed in accordance with the 2017 strategic investment plan for the DRI (“Downtown Redevelopment Initiative”). So yes our stakeholders are very concerned with the process and how it’s been handled and about how the permitting process is currently being handled. So we’re continuing to organize and continuing to explore our options.”
Coalition Secretary Christina Nori held a petition signed by 1,961 people opposing the Prime Companies redevelopment plan that has been approved by the common council. “I have witnessed an overwhelming amount of disapproval for the Prime Companies development which unfortunately has been responded to with an alarming amount of discrediting, unsavory behavior and indifference from our city council and representatives. We implore our representatives and council to be reminded of their role in this community to be public servants. To listen and make the changes necessary that will benefit all not just the few.”
Retired SUNY Plattsburgh professor and city resident Tim Palkovic says he doesn’t understand why city leaders are moving forward on a plan that he believes will drive people away from the city center. “Originally there was a plan for green space to improve the aesthetic of downtown. This large block of apartment building is going to crush out any green space and that’s disturbing. We want the town improved economically and aesthetically. This is doing neither and it’s providing a lack of parking space for people who want to do business downtown. There’s nothing of benefit for the city in this plan. I don’t understand why the city fathers are proposing this. I’m concerned. I’m terrified really. This could kill the city. It’s that simple.”
Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read was not immediately available for comment.
Pending zoning permits, Prime Companies expects to begin construction in the spring of 2020.