Plattsburgh residents mobilize effort to save free downtown parking

Local News

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. – A new development set to be built on a Durkee Street lot has some Plattsburgh residents upset over the loss of free parking downtown.

The developer, Prime Companies, has plans for a mixed-use apartment building with commercial space, part of the state-funded Downtown Revitalization Initiative.

But a group called “Save Durkee Parking Lot” has been helping collect signatures for a petition demanding that the project be halted. The group has some 400 members and, so far, has collected more than 1,300 signatures.

Strong Towns Plattsburgh, a community organization that drafted the peition, says the city’s plan to replace the lost parking could further hurt residents and businesses.

“As it stands, the plans to replace the lot’s 298 spaces remain foggy at best, and deceptive at worst,” the group said in their petition. “The plan to replace parking at the Durkee Street lot with a privately owned mixed-use development poses a serious threat to small businesses that rely on the city’s largest parking lot for convenient access to their stores.”

The city’s plan involves demolishing the Glens Falls Bank building on Margaret Street for a new municipal lot. They’re also looking to reconfigure several streets to allow for more parking.

Plattsburgh Director of Community Development Matthew Miller described parking as “a hot button issue for a lot of folks. We had no illusions that this was going to be a pleasant process.”

Miller said he believes the development will benefit the city.

“This is all being done to allow for the forward progress of a $22 million private investment in downtown Plattsburgh, so we’re doing this all for a very good reason, and we’re trying to do it with as little onus to the public as possible,” Miller said.

Christine Nori, a member of the “Save Durkee Parking Lot” Facebook group, said she hopes Miller and other representatives continue to take the communities’ concerns into consideration.

“The local planning committee gave the public only one opportunity to vote on this project and it received only 1-2% support,” Nori said. “I am personally concerned that this project is not being planned with good intentions.”

Strong Towns Plattsburgh argues in its petition that large-scale developments like the Durkee Street project have a “history of failure.” Nori expressed similar concerns.

“What are the “good reasons” and who is this project benefiting?” Nori said. “It will do more harm than benefit to our downtown businesses and residents.”

Prime Companies is expected to begin construction on the $22 million project in April 2020.

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