March 23, 2014

Flags and flowers: City to take steps to beautify its streets

City to take steps to beautify its streets


---- — PLATTSBURGH — While City of Plattsburgh Mayor James Calnon spends his days concentrating on budget concerns, union negotiations, icy sidewalks and other brain-draining issues, he also has some lighter and brighter ideas in mind.

Calnon would like to see the city spruced up a bit — with an official flag to proudly fly on street corners across the Lake City.

“I’d like to see several flags that draw attention to the many assets we have in this city,” Calnon said.

“It would be nice to dress up the city a little bit and make a nice impression.”


The city actually already has a flag that was designed as part of the nation’s bicentennial celebration in 1976.

The banner was borne of a contest at Bailey Avenue Elementary School won by student Penny Rivers in Mrs. Monty’s class.

The contest was administered by Carlton Rennell, who would go on to become mayor in 1981, and serve until 1990. 

The flag features blue edges with a white center section. In the middle, a red ribbon is emblazoned with “Plattsburgh” and “New York.” The ribbon flies over a gold eagle with an American-flag shield on its chest.

At the bottom are the words, “A Freedom Heritage.”


Calnon said the flag is nice, but more could be done.

“That flag represents our military history and the importance of freedom quite well, but it doesn’t address some of the other great things we have in this city such as recreation, arts and other attractions.”

Calnon said he is looking into holding a contest to come up with a flag design or two, or more.

“It would be great to have two or three or four different flags,” he said.

“We could put them on street corners all over and it will make a little difference in our appearance.”


At a recent council meeting, Councilor Josh Kretser (D-Ward 6) joked that maybe there could be a flag with a steaming michigan on it to symbolize the city’s famous culinary treat.

Calnon said that while a hot-sauce smothered hot dog might not exactly be the first choice, Kretser has the right idea.

“There are a lot of aspects of our community that we can pay tribute to, and it would be fun to see what we can come up with.”


While Calnon is working on flags, Councilor Becky Kasper (D-Ward 5) would also like to help out in beautifying Plattsburgh.

An avid gardener, Kasper would like to see more residents take to their yards and lay out some welcoming flower beds.

“My ideas are really unstructured right now, but it’s about a desire to make the most of our city’s potential for beautification and make it real,” she said.

“We have a lot of people in this city who have great gardening skills and a desire to use them, so there has to be a way of harnessing that to make our city more beautiful.”


Kasper said that while planting flowers might not amount to the most important issue the council takes on, it is a small gesture that helps improve the quality of life.

“It would be great if the community took that challenge and came up with ways to take a little ownership of the city and make it more beautiful,” she said.

“And it can be done without great cost. It cost about $7 for a bag of wildflower seeds and they are low maintenance and quite beautiful.”

Kasper is also looking into hosting a contest to see who can dress up their yards the best this summer.

Calnon, who was elected mayor last year after serving six years on the council, fully supports her idea.

“I enjoy seeing what people have in their front yards,” he said.

“One of the best things about campaigning door-to-door is that you get to see all the different landscaping that we have and some of it is quite remarkable. So I think it’s a good thing to draw more attention to the good parts of the city.”

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