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July 3, 2014

Organizers to look for new spot to host city's First Weekends

PLATTSBURGH — City of Plattsburgh councilors and First Weekends organizers have agreed to work together to find other ways to hold their events without shutting down City Hall Place each time.

The street will, however, be closed this weekend.

“There has been such a big buildup to make this weekend’s event a big event because it coincided with the Fourth of July weekend, and we are expecting a big crowd,” First Weekends President Tim McCormick told councilors at their meeting Thursday night.

“So we will keep the road closed this weekend, but we look forward to working with you and finding other ways to solve some of the issues.”

BUSINESS IMPACT

Mayor James Calnon said last week that he had received complaints from several downtown business owners who said that closing City Hall Place on the first Saturday of every month from April to November cuts into customer traffic.

The council agreed in February to close City Hall Place from just before noon to about 8 p.m. each first Saturday for First Weekends, a celebration that involves music, art and family events.

But Calnon said the decision to close the road needed to be re-visited because of the merchant complaints.

‘GROWING PAINS’

The mayor considered seeking to rescind the motion to close the streets but backed off and instead asked the council to approve a motion that urged First Weekends organizers to modify their plans for the rest of the year to avoid closing City Hall Place.

“First Weekends has only been going on for a year, so there are still some growing pains with it,” Calnon said.

“We want to grow with you and come up ideas to make this work, and rescinding the resolution should not be the first step.”

OTHER SITES

The mayor, who earlier this year donated $500 to First Weekends and participated as a guest bartender to raise funds for the effort, noted that several other areas in the downtown area could be used for First Weekend celebrations without closing streets.

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