Press-Republican

Tuesday

April 1, 2014

City councilor to explore idea of closing streets

PLATTSBURGH — One city councilor is floating the idea of permanently closing off some downtown streets to create a pedestrian-friendly marketplace.

“I don’t have any specific plan yet, but I have some ideas and want to bring this forward to see if this is something we want to pursue,” Councilor Josh Kretser (D-Ward 6) said at a recent City of Plattsburgh Common Council meeting.

He said a pedestrian-only area downtown could bolster business by increasing foot traffic and making that area a destination for shoppers.

“Every business goes through a re-branding a lot of times, and I think downtown is in a position to benefit from a re-branding,” he said.

SHOPPING TREND

In recent years, the city has been closing off City Hall Place for special events, such as the Fourth of July, Mayor’s Cup and the Battle of Plattsburgh Commemoration.

Last year, the city also shut down that street for a new event known as First Weekends, when downtown business leaders host a street party with local music and other activities.

The street closures have been largely met with positive response, but Kretser said that doing so on a permanent basis requires a longer look.

“There is a trend now where people are wanting to shop more in downtown areas and get away from the malls and strip malls,” Kretser told the Press-Republican.

“If we prove to investors that we are doing the planning to accommodate more business downtown, then they might be willing to invest in Plattsburgh.”

STUDY PLANNED

In addition to City Hall Place, Kretser said part of Margaret Street between Brinkerhoff and Court streets, Clinton Street and Upper Bridge Street could be possible pedestrian areas.

“Anything is possible, at this point; we just have to take a good look at it,” he said.

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