Livable Community member asks for City Beach updates

KAYLA BREEN/STAFF PHOTOA disheveled retaining wall, with inch long nails protruding out the side, keeps sand within the volleyball courts at the Plattsburgh City Beach. The wall’s visible nails were among many other concerns about the city beach’s appearance voiced by the Livable Community Advisory Committee at City Common Council last Thursday.

PLATTSBURGH —The Plattsburgh City Beach could use some tender loving care.

Livable Community Advisory Committee member Jane Desotelle pointed that out to the City Common Council last Thursday.

Owner and operator of Underwood Herbs and the Plattsburgh Botanical Sanctuary on Riley Avenue, Desotelle said she hadn’t visited the local shoreline since childhood.

“Usually when you go to a place that you haven’t been to since you were a kid, it’s smaller than you remembered,” she said. “This was the opposite feeling that I got when I visited this beach — it’s huge.”

Though later commending Lake Champlain’s beauty, the gardener pointed to some City Beach eyesores.

“This is not very inviting,” Desotelle said she had thought during her visit. “It’s embarrassing.”


Members of the Livable Community Committee tried a divide-and-conquer format, quickly splitting into three subcommittees: City-College Relations, Code Enforcement and Environment/Enhancements.

Desotelle sat on the Environment/Enhancements group with fellow city residents Paula Cormier, Joan Jansen and George Wurster.

Spokespersons from each subgroup were to present city-enhancing suggestions to the Common Council at the various committee meetings of August.

Desotelle was the first to act, presenting to the City Governance, Strategy & City Operations Committee.


The herbalist made recommendations for the city’s website, like the addition of local hyperlinks, but much of her presentation circled the City Beach.

Desotelle said she had visited on a weekday, noticing only one designated swimming area and a sole lifeguard on duty.

Plattsburgh City Recreation had started the summer season with just one swimming area, but have since expanded that to three.

Community Engagement Coordinator Scott Matthews has also said that the municipality has a full lifeguard staff.

Desotelle said that the buoys bordering the regulated-swimming area had made for shallow swimming, sharing a photo of a man near that area’s far border, but only waist deep in water.

She wondered if those buoys, which she had been told were cemented, could be moved farther out.


Desotelle noted that the City Beach’s restrooms were far from desirable.

After scoping out both the men’s and women’s rooms, she said, neither were clean.

In the men’s room, all of the urinals had been closed up.

“Nobody could use them,” Desotelle said.

In the women’s room, she added, there had been many stalls.

“But there are only two doors that actually close,” she said. “So, nobody is getting any privacy.

“That was very disappointing.”


Desotelle suggested other beach improvements, like providing an onsite city map and fixing up a retaining wall there.

That wall, keeping sand within the beach’s volleyball courts, was in disrepair with inch-long nails protruding.

Desotelle pointed them out, she said, not because they were unattractive, but because they were a safety hazard.

The City Beach should be a consideration when trying for future grant opportunities, Desotelle said.

“I like to plant seeds,” the gardener told the City Council. “I’m just trying to plant a seed here.”


Prior to Desotelle’s presentation, City Councilor Rachelle Armstrong (D-Ward 1) talked about the city’s recreation facilities and recent complaints she had been receiving.

Armstrong said she, along with fellow councilors Patrick McFarlin (I-Ward 5), Jeff Moore (D-Ward 6) and Mike Kelly (D-Ward 2), planned to take a “hard look” at those City of Plattsburgh facilities.

“(So) that we clarify what our mission is as a city to deliver our recreation services to our public,” she said, “and that we further clarify how to support our priorities sustainably.”

The Ward 1 councilor thanked Desotelle for her time and research.

“This is wonderful work and I’m glad we have ally in you and your subcommittee,” she said.

Email McKenzie Delisle:

Twitter: McKenzieDelisle