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Downtown Association explores official status

By: DAN HEATH

PLATTSBURGH — The newly revived Plattsburgh Downtown Visitors Association is exploring methods to become an official nonprofit entity.

City Attorney John Clute spoke to the group this week about membership in the Lake City Local Development Corp., which has existed since 1996.


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He said it is a small organization, but it does have an existing nonprofit corporate structure.

“I believe we have the resources that can help a group such as this,” he said.

That would include the ability to seek grant funding.

Clute said the business group should define its goals. Membership in the LDC could even result in a transformation of that city corporation, he said.

“It is something that has tremendous potential.”

The association members in attendance agreed to seek LDC membership as a group.

Champlain Wine Company co-owner Colin Read said that doesn’t preclude individual members from joining the LDC. He also said he doesn’t want that membership to result in a loss of the association’s intended purpose.

Read said they can use the LDC as their nonprofit entity and still have their own organization.

FIRST WEEKEND

The First Weekend series, with live street musicians and special offers at downtown businesses, is proving to be a success, Read said. 

“The primary thing we want to focus on is getting people downtown.”

The next events are Aug. 2 and 3 and Sept. 6 and 7, the latter coming a week before the Battle of Plattsburgh commemoration.

Tim McCormick of McCormick and Deon said they are spread thin as far as available musicians. Mary Gillen of Paychex suggested seeking jugglers, holding treasure hunts or finding groups interested in “flash mob”-type activities.

Joe Kovacs, owner of Smooth Moves on Broad Street and Mini Moves on City Hall Place, said an employee at his smaller store reported triple the usual sales on July 6, during the second First Weekend.

“My guy said he was swamped for three hours,” he said.

That is the type of anecdotal evidence that the group could present to the Common Council as it seeks approval for street closures for future First Weekend events, McCormick said.

“They really need to see that it’s a community event,” he said.

PLATTSBURGH MAP

The association is still developing a design for a placemat-sized map of city offerings that could be distributed at hotels, restaurants, businesses, marinas and other locations.

Susan Coonrod of Plattsburgh Yarn and Gifts provided two draft versions.

Joshua Kretser of pod studio suggested the association could sell ads to be placed on the map.

Kovacs said they should explore placing a larger version of the map on the kiosk that the association once operated at the north end of the Durkee Street parking lot.

He also said they should seek more signs to show visitors where free parking is available.

Bill Ferris of Big Apple Audio said that could be another item to bring up when they speak to the Common Council.

OFFICERS CHOSEN

The association elected officers at the end of the meeting: Read as president; McCormick, vice president; Gillen, secretary; and Germaine Hicks of TD Bank, treasurer.

To learn more or get involved in the association, contact Read at readcl@gmail.com.

Email Dan Heath:dheath@pressrepublican.com

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