Friday, May 17, 2024

City Controversy


By Luke T. Bush


This evening citizen activists gathered at city hall before a public hearing, sharing their opposing view on a proposed downtown redevelopment.

The plan would use $2.5 million in funds from the Restore NY Communities Initiative to convert the empty Key Bank building at 2 Brinkerhoff Street into a hotel.

One demonstrator held up a sign that read:

Just say NO to 2 Brinkerhoff. The public demands transparency on the selection process.”

There was also included a quoted post by Garry Douglas, President/CEO of the North Country Chamber of Commerce:

GF Douglas   Top Contributor   Restore NY offers potential partial funding to help make projects taking on the higher cost and risk of redeveloping historic buildings economically feasible. The concept for the Key Bank building came forward just before the pandemic and has happily come back to life.”

An activist, Iris Cain, stated the post was deleted from Facebook.

The transparency issue was one reason the proposal was voted down that evening. Councilor Elizabeth Gibbs said the council hadn’t been included in the grant application discussions.

Also there might have been the appearance of a conflict of interest regarding the mayor and his landlord. The real estate company behind the proposal owns the building that houses Chapter One cafe. Mayor Chris Rosenquest is co-owner of the business. He stated he would have recused himself from the process if there was a problem.