PLATTSBURGH — After much discussion, City of Plattsburgh councilors decided to leave its rules for street drives alone.
“I support them, despite my own personal dislike,” Councilor Becky Kasper (D-Ward 5) said at Thursday night’s council work session.
The city was considering changes to the street-drive policy after some councilors raised concerns last year. Former Councilor George Rabideau said he did not like the fact that organizations from outside the city are allowed to raise money on city streets.
Other concerns over the years have touched on the intrusion on motorists and the safety of fundraisers held in the middle of the street.
During the drives, people stand in a coned-off area in the middle of the street at the four points of an intersection.
They often have signs describing their organization and asking for support. Motorists are free to donate cash or coins as they stop for red lights.
The city allows 10 street drives each summer from May through September.
They are held every other Saturday at the intersections of Beekman and Cornelia streets, Margaret Street and Boynton Avenue, and Route 9 and South Platt Street.
They run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and each organization is allowed one per year. They must provide the city with proof of insurance to cover any accidents.
SOME TURNED AWAY
The slots are given out on a first-come, first-served basis.
City Clerk Keith Herkalo begins accepting applications for street drives on Feb. 1.
A final list of dates will be given to the council for approval in March.
Herkalo said that last year four organizations were turned away after the slots were filled.
At this week’s session, Councilor Michael Kelly (D-Ward 2) said he believes street drives are essential for some organizations. He often participates in the one held yearly by Emore SPCA, he said, and it has been an enjoyable experience.
“It improves morale and makes people happy,” he said.
He also offered this observation: “Often people in Cadillacs and Lexuses just roll up their windows when they pull up, and the guy in the 15-year-old Toyota is fishing all over the car for change or anything he can find to give.”
Kasper feels many people find street drives annoying, and she doesn’t think everyone enjoys them.
“The rich don’t,” Kelly quipped.
“I don’t think it’s a class issue,” Kasper retorted.
“I do,” Kelly said.
He suggested the city double the number of street drives in order to accommodate more organizations.
Kasper said doing so could further frustrate motorists and lead to more irritable drivers and possible safety concerns.
“I accept them, but if we double them, we might reach the saturation point,” she said.
Councilors Paul “Crusher” O’Connell (D-Ward 4) and Rachelle Armstrong (D-Ward 1) said they would prefer to see city organizations get preference. But no consensus was reached on banning outside organizations.
“Why don’t we just leave it the way it is?” O’Connell said, to which the council agreed.
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