The Plattsburgh Common Council did not vote Thursday night on a course of action to take with the work to rebuild Cogan Avenue. The project, awaited for at least a decade, is scheduled to be done this year. However, exactly what work will be done to rebuild the street isn’t clear yet.
Three-tenths of a mile of Cogan Avenue will be rebuilt; the project area runs from Cornelia Street to Park Avenue West. Last week, a city engineering technician presented three options — bicycle and pedestrian lanes on both sides with no sidewalks, a sidewalk on one side or sidewalks on both sides. “We can change some things, but let’s start reaching out to people, and so that’s what we’re doing,” Councilor Patrick McFarlin said. “I look forward to hearing more people speak about it.”
On-street parking, landscaping and trees would be affected by each option in varying ways. Joan Janson was one of many Cogan Avenue residents who told the Common Council meeting that they want to see a fourth option. “If you feel there needs to be new sewer and new water underneath it, that’s entirely up to you,” she said. “As a taxpayer, I’d rather you didn’t spend that money. I would like to go for the low-cost, no-fuss solution, which is to pave the street and let’s call it quits.”
Councilor Elizabeth Gibbs represents Ward 3, in which Cogan Avenue lies. She said she spent much of Saturday trying to reach as many people living there as she could, but she acknowledged that she couldn’t reach everyone. “It’s not that I am not interested in continuing to go out in the neighborhood, but there are only so many hours in a day and I did my absolute best to get information out,” she said. “I left business cards behind.”
One couple that Gibbs was able to reach had their son, Scott Beebie, attend the council meeting in their stead. Beebie said his parents had no idea this project was in play until now. “My father and mother would prefer, as prior speakers (would) — fix the infrastructure, fix the drainage, without any additional curbing or sidewalks,” he said.
A man living on Cogan Avenue was upset that options were being presented for a possible binding decision without everyone on the street being consulted first. “I ask you now to hit the brakes on this; don’t do what you always do — rush to judgment, spend money,” Thomas O’Keefe said. “I hope you think about what you do before you do it and I don’t get an invitation in the paper, the day of, to come down here.”
The city has set aside money to pay for the project, but the price tag won’t be known until the council approves the form that the project will take.