City DRI projects still in progress | Local News

PLATTSBURGH — Two notable city DRI projects continue to make headway, but while one could wrap

PLATTSBURGH — Two notable city DRI projects continue to make headway, but while one could wrap up this fall, the other’s end date is still undetermined. 

THE PROJECTS

Plattsburgh City’s $10 million, state-funded Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) supported 10 total projects.

Six of them — Durkee Street Site, Dock Street Waterfront District, the Downtown Grant Program, Riverfront Access, Downtown Streetscape Improvements, and Marketing, Branding and Signage Strategy — were to be executed via city leadership.

MUDDY TIMELINE 

The $4.3 million awarded to support the redevelopment of the Lake City’s 289-space Durkee Street parking lot is by far the most talked about of the projects.

The city has been working with Albany County-based developer Prime Plattsburgh LLC, the project’s sole bidder, for years now, but, shovels have yet to enter the ground there — and the timeline of when that could happen is muddy. 

Plattsburgh City Mayor Christopher Rosenquest told the Press-Republican that he had no new information, adding that the project’s tax application still awaited County of Clinton Industrial Development Agency (CCIDA) action. 

“There’s nothing much else,” he said. “We’re just waiting on the process at this point.”

DURKEE ACHIEVEMENTS

Still, the project has made notable progress as of late. 

Site plans changed in the last 12 months to incorporate various community comments, like adjustments to the structure’s height and exterior materials, and feedback from the city’s volunteer boards amounted to other alterations, like additional public parking.

The Durkee project, after many months, received Planning and Zoning board approvals before the start of the New Year and was recently before the CCIDA for its pending Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) application. That vote, which could determine the fate of the downtown project, was postponed until further notice.

If successful, the project looked to construct a five-story, mixed-use development on one side of the now parking area to overlook the nearby Saranac River. The structure would include upper-level apartment units, lower-level commercial space and underground parking. 

The second half of the lot would house a 90-plus space public parking lot and a meandering public walkway, connecting two other DRI offshoots: the Saranac Riverfront walkway and the Betty Little Arts Park. 

LITTLE ARTS PARK

Ground broke at the future Arts Park last fall as Luck Brothers Inc. crews worked on the site’s sanitary sewer replacement.

The city named the park, to sit between Margaret and Durkee streets, in honor of longtime Sen. Betty Little, who retired at the end of last year.

The three-tiered park was expected to feature an outdoor seating area up by Margaret Street as its top layer, a splash pad/water feature at its center and a sculpture garden of local artwork at the bottom down by Durkee Street. 

If they were to glance up, park-goers would have front-row view of the new “Reach for the Stars! The Michael Anderson Mural” that was painted by Brendon Palmer-Angell on the side of the Westelcom Building last year. 

PARK PROGRESS

Rosenquest said the park was hoped for a fall 2021 completion. 

“I think the Arts Park, in the grand scheme of things, speaks to our need for space that people can come and enjoy; it’s been a park that has been there, but it has just existed without any clear function,” the mayor said. 

“It’s about making sure that our green space is being leveraged for, not only to just be attractive for our city, but to improve our quality of life.” 

Rosenquest said the city was now engaged with community organization Outside Arts to get advice on what kind of art should be featured at the park.  

“Our hope is to identify what it will look like and then start to fill in some of those gaps,” he said. “Whether those gaps are going to be filled in the first year or second year is the question.

“Some of it is also based on funding, as well.” 

Email McKenzie Delisle: 

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Twitter: @McKenzieDelisle