Plattsburgh’s $10M grant could mean the end of free downtown parking

Plattsburgh’s new plans to revitalize the downtown area may result in the end of free parking. The city is the recipient of a $10M grant from the state to revitalize downtown. One of the plans is to replace the free downtown Durkee Street parking lot with a mixed-use city center. According to one estimate, the cost could be as high as $31M. “That could mean no more free parking, or a lot less of it.”

Jon Forster is the consultant who came up with some of the new ideas for parking. He proposes new lots and a parking garage to replace the lot that’s going to be developed. “Forster spoke at city hall last month to a small group of residents. The city has been holding meetings and collecting comments about parking since September, and Forster was presenting his final recommendations.”

Currently, downtown property owners pay taxes to help maintain public parking lots but for everyone else parking is free. There isn’t any metered parking downtown and parking tickets are seldomly handed out. That may need to change to change to help pay for the new garage. Forster thinks the city should set up metered parking and write tickets.

“You are no longer in a situation where parking will take care of itself. Especially if you take Durkee Street out of the mix. You build something on that, you’re no longer able to just let it go. You have to pay more attention to it,” Forster said.” There still can be a free parking lot, he proposes one by the city marina one half mile away. He also suggested a shuttle bus to help with the distance during construction of the new lots and garage. Some residents aren’t happy with the new plans. “The downside of paid parking is it’s paid parking,” Forster said. “On the other hand, he said, the city can’t develop the Durkee Street lot without re-thinking the parking situation.”

Click here to read more.