By now, both sides in the Downtown Revitalization Initiative issue have made themselves clear.

The City of Plattsburgh wants badly to get a $25 million project off the ground, and the Plattsburgh Citizens' Coalition desperately wants to stop it.

Everyone knows the combatants and what their positions are.

In a nutshell, the city, which includes Mayor Colin Read and the Common Council, believes the project, being offered by Prime Companies of the Albany area, that will feature 145 units of housing and 10,000-square-feet of commercial space in the Durkee Street parking lot, will enhance downtown in many ways.

It will bring more commerce and make the downtown area a true city center, the city believes.

It will also lead to an improved Saranac River area and harborside corridor.

In another nutshell, the Plattsburgh Citizens' Coalition argues that the development will seriously hurt downtown by taking away valuable parking for business customers.

They also don't think it's fair that a private developer gets to benefit from $4.3 million of the $10 million allocated to the city by the state for the DRI.

They also balk at the developer changing the plans to increase the amount of housing from 45 units to 114, saying it will become a gated community for the wealthy. 

Did the city roll this whole plan out poorly without much public input and open and honest dialogue?

Yes, you can certainly argue that they could have done a better public relations job for sure.

Have they done not so great a job of getting out in front of issues and trying to convince people of the merits of the project?

Again, yes, a little positive publicity would have helped.

Do some of the anti-DRI folks have an ax to grind against Read for controversial moves he's made since he became mayor in 2017?


Have the anti-DRI people been harsh and borderline inappropriate in their criticisms on social media?

Yes, they have.

So with the battle lines drawn so clearly, the question becomes, what happens next?

If the project stalls, then questions will have to be answered about what happens to the DRI money.

Surely the state will not be thrilled, and the city's chances for future development money would be seriously jeopardized.

And what would the city do with the Glens Falls National Bank property it bought on Margaret Street for new parking?

Will that purchase be a waste of money? Looks like it.

The anti-DRI people argue that the purchase of the bank never should have happened without a solid plan in place for development and future parking.

The city's argument is that it is trying to make things happen and shake up the economic landscape by bringing in this infusion of people.

If there is no development downtown as a result of this war, what will become of downtown?

Our guess is that it likely will remain about the same, with people having dinner outside in the nice weather, and young adults and college kids packing a certain few bars in the later hours.

The new and improved Strand Theater has been a welcome addition to the downtown scene, but without a major development of some kind, the status quo figures to remain for years to come.

Maybe that's fine, but you have to wonder what an economic shot in the arm could do for downtown.

So wouldn't it be nice if the two factions can get together to solve this thing instead of bickering so much, and just maybe re-shape the future of the city?

And if the anti-DRI faction is still intent on defeating Mayor Read, no better chance will present itself than next year's election.