July 1, 2014

City concerned about First Weekends traffic patterns

PLATTSBURGH — Complaints have come to the Mayor’s Office that shutting down City Hall Place for First Weekends is bad for business.

“We want First Weekends to be successful and continue to grow, but we have to balance the needs of everyone and be concerned about all the downtown businesses,” Mayor James Calnon told the Press-Republican.

Several merchants have approached him about the issue, he said.

So he wants to move the event around.


First Weekends was developed last year as a way to promote downtown business, with special events Friday evenings and also a street festival the first Saturday of each month in spring, summer and fall.

The city agreed in February to close City Hall Place the first Saturday of each month from April to November to allow for the events to take place.

But Calnon said First Weekends has been affecting businesses on Durkee and Bridge streets. City Hall Place is usually blocked to traffic by late morning and stays closed until around 8 p.m. on those days.

“The numbers (loss of business) some of these businesses are experiencing is scary,” he said.

The mayor noted that City Hall Place is also often closed for other events, such at the Fourth of July celebration, Mayor’s Cup Regatta and Festival, Battle of Plattsburgh commemoration and various road races.

“It’s not just First Weekends. That street is closed a lot, and the businesspeople are feeling it,” he said.


Pat Parker of the Plattsburgh Farmers Market said business is down about 40 percent on First Weekends Saturdays.

“Anything that does not allow customers to get to us is a problem,” she said.

The Farmers Market is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays in the Durkee Street parking lot, and Parker said they are not seeing the crowds when City Hall Place is shut down.

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