PLATTSBURGH — Chris Rosenquest recently unveiled his proposed plan for the Lake City.
The Plan for Plattsburgh, in the works for five months, highlighted 9 key points Rosenquest hoped to address if elected Plattsburgh city mayor this November.
The Democrat and current Area 9 Clinton County legislator said his campaign team was expected to share related videos across his social media platforms over the next nine or so weeks, expanding on each bullet point and engaging in discussions with the community.
"Frankly, I think this is what the voters deserve," he told the Press-Republican. "Now is the time for answers and we want to make it crystal clear that we do have a plan."
Rosenquest's Plan for Plattsburgh looked to mend relations with neighboring entities, generate a variety of master plans, secure all-level housing and develop a sort of business owner consortium.
The candidate welcomed community input, but said, to some degree, the ideas had been community-driven from the start via conversations at the legislature level, throughout his five-month-long campaign and at his downtown business Chapter One Coffee and Tea, which he runs at City Well with his wife, Tracy Vicory-Rosenquest.
The mayoral candidate defined the plan as "potluck development." The term, he said, was borrowed from a friend.
"(It) essentially means: bringing the best and brightest people, ideas and partnerships to the table to support local and regional growth," Rosenquest says in a recent release. "The goals outlined in this plan are achievable without sacrificing one ideal for another.
"We believe it’s feasible to manage for financial stability and growth while at the same time managing for quality of life and transparency. This Plan for Plattsburgh is designed to realize the future that we imagine for our city."
A sort of timeline was attached to each of the plan's bullet points.
"Those timelines are not for when those things will be complete," Rosenquest explained, "they are for when those things will start to happen. They were based on people in the know and from having conversations about what's going on right now."
The Democrat said tasks with quicker schedules were those either considered to be more urgent or were thought to need less time to prepare for, while those with longer timelines could have a combination of the opposite.
The idea to start a Plattsburgh Business Owner Consortium comes from the hope to develop and grow the Lake City's business culture.
Via the plan, the association would look to partner with local and regional business support agencies to ensure the business community was aware of growth opportunities and also create a "local first" culture in partnership with the North Country Chamber of Commerce.
"Just like a lot of the community groups that are popping up now, businesses need an active and sound voice that helps shape government decision making," Rosenquest said.
The candidate discussed the recent attempt of a downtown restaurant owner to shutdown Margaret Street on select nights of the week, allowing for foot traffic and additional outdoor seating to hopefully help downtown city businesses during the times of the novel coronavirus.
The move required barriers to block off the street, something the downtown business owner had elected to do.
"That request was still denied," he said. "I think having ten business owners, a group, a collection of business owners really having a very strong, clear and powerful voice to help not only inform decisions and common practices, but also to help create solutions for the most commonly-faced problems is needed.
"We need that voice."
The plan also discussed the local occupancy rate, which sits somewhere between 3 and 5 percent.
"Technically, with a housing study, we could declare a housing crisis in our community," Rosenquest said. "Meaning, there is not enough housing to go around."
The candidate thought it was important to join the Clinton County Land Bank, not a solo city venture as the current administration has attempted, and to up its available low-income, affordable and market-rate housing.
And while Rosenquest didn't think the Prime Plattsburgh project, which has proposed 115 market rate apartment units be built in the Durkee Street lot, was the "silver bullet that is going to solve the city's housing issue," he thought it could help.
"Any amount of housing is going to, at some point, contribute to the lack of housing in our community," he said. "That doesn't necessarily mean that's the way to do it."
When asked if any parts of the plan exuded any sort of excitement, Rosenquest said the renewed partnership with the town and the expansion of city bike lanes topped the list.
Currently, his plan says, the city has 60 miles of roads and 1.47 miles of bike lanes.
"I'm a bicyclist; I like to be outdoors," he said. "I like the notion of having more bike lanes and more biking infrastructure in our city. As a geographically small community, I think that is something that we need to safely get people back and forth across our city."
Plus, a stronger relationship between the town and the city could amount to bike lane and signage continuity on shared roadways, like Cornelia and Rugar streets, as well as the Tom Miller Road, he said. Through its Elevate Plattsburgh Town Center Smart Growth Plan, that municipality has future plans to better its biker/walker infrastructure.
"What would it look like for a visitor, or even someone who lives here, to be biking on Cornelia Street, going from their place uptown to visit the historic downtown and then there is no bike path coming into the city? That's not very welcoming," Rosenquest said.
"It certainly doesn't support someone who lives downtown but works uptown and wants to ride their bike to get to work safely either."
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Per a recent news release, Rosenquest's 9-point Plan for Plattsburgh was as follows:
Mend divisions with other communities so the region can grow together as partners and neighbors:
• Create an inter-municipal task force to identify and implement shared service opportunities with the Town of Plattsburgh, the Plattsburgh City School District, Clinton County and other local/regional municipalities and taxing jurisdictions — within 5 months.
• Create a multi-department task force to identify shared service opportunities with the Town of Plattsburgh and City School District — within 5 months.
• Include community and industry experts to help create best practices to secure service quality — within 7 months.
• Develop and implement a five-year shared services plan with targeted goals, to be determined by the task force, to reduce service cost delivery. — within 9 months.
Create and fulfill a future for our city that we’re all invested in, we all have a say in, and we all can contribute to:
• Develop an inclusive comprehensive city-wide master plan by leveraging DOS money available since 2019 — within 5 months
• Identify key community groups and community leaders to help guide and contribute to the plan. Demand transparency and inclusion — within 1 month.
• Update outdated zoning and planning to focus on responsible development and preservation and access to our natural resources — within 3 months.
Revisit, reimagine and implement the tourist and quality of life opportunities identified in the Destination Master Plan:
• Partners with the Chamber and other regional agencies who we can coordinate and build events and attractions — within 2 months.
• Develop a financial master plan that focuses on long-term financial stability with a focus on tax stabilization/reduction and revenue generation through increased tourism, attracting remote workers and partnering with a new business consortium — within 5 months.
• Develop a short and long term plan to develop the Old Base Museum Campus as a tourist and educational destination location to highlight our rich history — within 10 months.
Develop Plattsburgh Business Owner Consortium who will develop our city’s business culture and growth:
• Partner with local and regional business support agencies to ensure our current and future business communities are aware of growth opportunities — within 8 months.
• Create a culture of “Local First” in partnership with the North Country Chamber of Commerce as well as the Plattsburgh Business Owner Consortium — within 8 months.
Develop complete multi-modal transportation plan:
• Create a traffic assessment in partnership with the Town of Plattsburgh and other traffic experts — within 12 months.
• Address mobility and handicap parking issues throughout our city — within 12 months.
• Develop a comprehensive plan and infrastructure development for walking, biking, driving and public transit infrastructure — within 24 months.
• Partner with the Town of Plattsburgh to create an integrated plan and cohesive approach to transportation plan implementation — within 24 months.
Become a member of the Clinton County Land Bank:
• Partner with local housing authorities to help fund the demolition, remediation and rental/sale of zombie properties in our city — within 6 months.
• Leverage local housing authority partnerships to address housing deficiencies — within 10 months.
Secure all-income level housing throughout the city:
• Leverage third-party contract agencies directed by our Building Inspector’s office to support the enforcement of building codes throughout the city — within 12 months.
• Develop incentive programs to attract and support developers who want to invest and build locally — within 24 months.
Deepen partnerships with our local schools and universities and community groups:
• Create a pathway for communication that can ultimately lead to sharing services and leveraging professional expertise for planning and service development — within 6 months.
• Invest in a long term solution for the Center City that involves community groups, residents, SUNY and college students — within 12 months.
Develop stronger volunteer network:
• Work with the many not-for-profits that operate in the city to widely advertise and support their efforts — within 24 months.
• Leverage the city’s mouthpiece to highlight the need for volunteer resources for local organizations — within 24 months.