PLATTSBURGH CITY, NY -- 5/30/19
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.