Friday, May 31, 2019

Spirited But Not Mean

By Luke T. Bush


They're back.  Fewer in number but just as committed.

As promised demonstrators showed up again this Thursday evening to express their views about how the city plans to spend the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) state grant money.  Among their concerns is that the major part of the grant is targeted to rip up the Durkee Street parking lot, displacing convenient parking and the Farmers Market to build a new residential building for higher income renters.

One demonstrator told me she voted for Colin Read but she wouldn't the next mayoral election.  The topic came up because today the Press-Republican reported Read decided to run again in 2020, a surprise to some people.

The PR article mentioned the DRI controversy, concerned citizens speaking out at Common Council meetings and holding demonstrations in front of City Hall.

Mayor Read was quoted: "It's just something about the culture these days -- not just here, but everywhere....There's a lot of meanspiritedness and anger going on out there for all kinds of different reasons."

I've covered a couple of demonstrations and never noticed any nastiness when speaking to the protesters.  And while it can't be regarded as a proper survey a number of drivers passing by honked their support.

Demonstrators state the crux of the DRI controversy is that city doesn't listen to constituents who ask questions but never get real answers.  They say city officials have made their plans and ignore any dissident.

This month downtown property owner David Merkel resigned from the City of Plattsburgh Parking Advisory Committee that was formed to deal with the relocation of spaces from Durkee Street lot.  He said he felt that the committee's input was unwanted.

Apparently the city has decided what it will do and that's it.


Snowflake said...

The big controversy for me is not about parking or historical value. It's the effect that 139 additional families in the city will have on home owner taxes. What? Why is no one seeing this? Prime is trying to get a pilot deal with the Economic Development for only $150k a year for city, county and school tax combined. Not even enough for one teacher salary and benefits let alone all the teachers, city employers, fire fighter, cops and I infrastructure. I think the real impact is being suppressed by the City government and the media.

Tal Hartsfeld said...

Gentrification has finally come to Plattsburgh.
Why am I not surprised?

Just wait until the gentrification/"cosmetic makeover" craze starts spreading all over, from one neighborhood to another, and the construction crews literally "take over" the city, "butchering" one area to shreds then starting on another before completing that current project. And it only stands to spread exponentially and ever-so-chronically-omnipresent.

And what do those construction workers stand to benefit from all their continuous non-stop efforts? It's not like any of them could ever afford to reside in any of the $1500 mo-to $2500 mo units their assembling from all the "mad-in-China" materials that would probably practically "disintegrate" if hit by an EF-3 level tornado or gusty high winds of a major winter blizzard or the fringe winds coming off a Category 4 hurricane hitting New York City or the Jersey shore.