Press-Republican

Columns

February 9, 2014

Major changes needed for future of city

Three important questions are often posed. Will the City and Town of Plattsburgh merge? Will the sewage treatment plant be moved? Will the train tracks be routed out of downtown Plattsburgh? The answers are “yes.” The real question is “when?” 

The City of Plattsburgh has a population just shy of 20,000 people, while the town has a population of about 12,000. The city is three miles long, a mile and a half wide and entirely surrounded by the town. Long ago, in an era in which households and businesses were moving to the suburbs, the malls in the town began to attract those residents who once spent Friday nights and weekends downtown at Merkel’s Department Store, at Woolworths and at an abundance of other downtown stores.

With the great mall migration, the city lost some of its shine.

It did not lose its history, nor its beauty, though. The city is a resource and a legacy for us all, and is experiencing an urban renewal we can all enjoy.

The city’s liability is the number of promises it must keep, even as its economic base has lost some of its polish. It has long-term financial obligations to pensions and to debt but without the economic support it once enjoyed.

On the other hand, the town has growing financial resources and fewer long-term obligations. Yet, the town needs the historical and cultural vitality of the city, just as the city needs the economic vitality of the town.

There will come a time when New York state realizes it cannot support almost 3,500 separate governmental entities. When it shrinks to half that number, we will someday see one Plattsburgh. Before we can enjoy those efficiencies, we must figure out a way to insulate the town from burdens the city took on.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg Easter with doubters and the 'nones'

    Should more pastors ask this blunt question: "Do you really believe Jesus was raised from the dead?" wonders religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Canadiens are Canada's team

    The National Hockey League playoffs are underway, and for Canadiens fans, many of whom likely reside in the Montreal "suburb" of Plattsburgh, it is a time of hope and joy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • little_mug.jpg There's no saw like an old saw Kaye and I laughed ourselves silly the other day as we tried to top each other with our own sayings from childhood, columnist Gordie Little writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Denenberg_Stu1.jpg Privacy concerns make a comeback

    There's a growing concern amongst the millennials, columnist Stu Denenberg writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg Several options exist for downtown

    Pedestrian mall just one idea that could be good for city's economic future, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Government can't create success on its own

    It takes a grass-roots community effort of people working together to assure future accomplishment, according to columnist Colin Read.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Farmers strive for sustainability

    Conserving the land and assuring long-term profitability are two of the key goals for farmers these days, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Big shift in Quebec vote

    Being a man of science, Philippe Couillard, premier-designate of Quebec, chose to use a geological term (though his field is actually medicine) to describe what happened in Monday's election, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg A monastery in the Hebrides, after 1,000 years

    Before Father Seraphim Aldea can build a monastery on Scotland's Mull Island, he needs to have a working septic system, writes religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tobias_Sue_012914.jpg Old movies offer more than entertaining TV

    Columnist Susan Tobias and her husband, Toby, are reminded of simple childhood memories while watching an old black-and-white movie.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

Peter Black: Canadian Dispatch

Lois Clermont, Editor

Cornell Cooperative Extension
Richard Gast: Cornell Ag Extension

Bob Grady

Guest Columns
Peter Hagar: Cornell Ag Connection

Health Advice

Ray Johnson: Climate Science
Gordie Little: Small Talk

Terry Mattingly: On Religion

Steve Ouellette: You Had To Ask

Colin Read: Everybody's Business

Pinch of Time