PRESS-REPUBLICAN: PLATTSBURGH TO CONDUCT PARKING STUDY
WILL BE PAID FOR BY GRANT, DOWNTOWN SPECIAL ASSESSMENT DISTRICT FUNDS
A week after voting to cut four departments, City of Plattsburgh councilors agreed to fund a parking study.
But the cost won’t come out of the general fund.
The study, priced at $57,684, will examine parking in the downtown core and throughout the city in anticipation of developments through the city’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative.
A grant for $20,000 from Empire State Development will help pay the cost, with the rest coming out of the Downtown Special Assessment District fund. Money for that fund is paid by downtown merchants who benefit from the Durkee Street parking lot.
City Chamberlain Richard Marks said the pot holds about $230,000 currently.
The council voted recently to eliminate the Engineering, Recreation, Human Resources and Information Technology departments in a move Mayor Colin Read has said would save between $600,000 and $700,000.
The city is trying to resolve a budget crisis that could lead to a negative fund balance at the end of this year. It needs to cut about $1 million in all, the mayor has said.
The study needs to be done, Read said, so potential developers in the Downtown Revitalization Initiative process will know how parking might affect their projects.
“A lot of things depend on the success of this parking study,” he said.
The study will be conducted by Carl Walker Inc., a division of WGI, which was selected by the mayor from four bids.
Read said the firm has extensive experience in parking studies and will look at all facets of parking downtown and in adjacent areas.
Use of parking meters, designated lots, and other parking ideas will be explored, Read said. The company will also hold public forums on parking.
“They can answer a lot of questions,” Read said. Councilor Dale Dowdle (R-Ward 3) said residents who live downtown should be listened to as well.
Work on the study is expected to begin this month and should be finished sometime in October. While the study will encompass many areas of the city, Read said, the 360 parking spaces in the Durkee Street lot will be a main focus.
“We’ve had a lot of interest from developers about the DRI, but the first question developers ask is about parking,” he said.
The city received $10 million from the state last year through the Downtown Revitalization Initiative.
But funds from that award cannot pay for the parking study, Read said, because the city had already applied for the grant money from Empire State Development.
The council voted unanimously to do the study.
Email Joe LoTemplio: firstname.lastname@example.org
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