August 19, 2012

Residents show vision for city beach

The other day, a group of visionaries, co-led by local entrepreneur and hotelier Terry Meron, approached the Plattsburgh City Council to advocate a study.

These long-term residents and entrepreneurs have lived in Plattsburgh for decades. Some were born here, as were some of their parents. Some have streets named after them. As kids, they enjoyed the city beach, and they recall the days when there was an almost solid string of traffic from the beach to downtown during hot summer days and nights.

In those days, tens of thousands of people, many from beyond our county, enjoyed Lake Champlain’s warm waters and sandy beach. Small booths would satisfy the beach revelers’ hunger or thirst. These were the halcyon days of our beach and our town. Meron and many others want to capture that spirit once again.

Their vision is to create a world-class beach lined by a boardwalk. They believe the woods behind the beach, not too long ago a garbage dump, would better serve us all with paths, ponds, bridges and green grass. These visionaries imagine we can enjoy ourselves by buying a bite to eat and perhaps a drink, renting a kayak or a sailboat, sitting on a pier by the bay, and, maybe someday even staying at a nice hotel near the beach.

Others are trying to join two bicycle paths that might reconnect the beach to downtown. Their solution is simple. The short section of Route 9 near McDonalds and Georgia-Pacific, with a 30-mph speed limit, might be better served with a central turning lane, a single lane in each direction and a bike path and sidewalk along each side. Some might observe that a single traffic lane in each direction would slow vehicles down. However, a middle turning lane will speed things up.

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