PLATTSBURGH — City of Plattsburgh mayoral candidate Chris Rosenquest sharply criticized City Hall for not cooperating with people hosting downtown events, but then backtracked after being pressed on the issue.
“I think this exposes the fact that he (Rosenquest) doesn’t really know what is going on,” said Councilor James Calnon (I-Ward 4), who is also running for mayor.
Rosenquest, a Plattsburgh native who moved home this summer from the Pacific Northwest to run for mayor, sent out a news release Monday complaining about roadblocks that he claimed Mayor Donald Kasprzak and the council have put up when downtown groups want to host events.
A group of downtown business leaders has organized events the first weekend of each month — dubbed First Weekends — this past summer. Part of City Hall Place is blocked off to create a festival area for entertainment for part of those events.
Organizers have appeared before the council to ask permission to block off the street and address other issues.
“Why does the leadership at City Hall constantly block the efforts of grassroots organizations and local businesses from making a difference in Plattsburgh?” Rosenquest said in his news release.
“Why does First Weekends and other community groups who are out doing good things for Plattsburgh face opposition from the mayor’s office and the council?”
Rosenquest, an independent candidate, said the council needs to shift its mindset and be more welcoming to groups trying to do things in the city.
“Time and again, First Weekends, downtown businesses and other grassroots organizations have had to go to City Council to ask for permission to bring revenue and people to downtown Plattsburgh,” his release said.
Rosenquest, who had lived out West for 14 years before returning to Plattsburgh to throw his hat in the ring for mayor, went on to say that, if elected, he would work with First Weekend planners and other groups to help attract visitors to downtown.