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Mayor James Calnon

City closer to decision on marina plans

By: JOE LoTEMPLIO

PLATTSBURGH — City of Plattsburgh councilors are hoping to make a final decision this week on what to do with a valuable piece of waterfront property.

“I think we should do something because it would greatly improve the property, and we can do it with little or no cost to the taxpayer, and it will increase visitor traffic and help the downtown businesses,” Mayor James Calnon said at the last Common Council meeting.

FINAL VOTE COMING UP

The city is considering plans for the development of a marina at property it owns at Dock Street Landing. Earlier this year, councilors listened to plans from two marina businesses for creating a new venture.

Both Navtours and Plattsburgh Boat Basin offered ideas for operating a city marina that would include boat slips, a restaurant and other waterfront activities, as well as public lake access.

Navtours is a Canadian and local operation, and Plattsburgh Boat Basin operates a marina and the Naked Turtle Restaurant next to Dock Street Landing.

The city opted to negotiate with Navtours, but a final decision on who the preferred developer would be has not been made. The council is expected to vote on final proposals from Navtours and Plattsburgh Boat Basin at the Jan. 16 meeting.

ASSURANCES

Councilor Becky Kasper (D-Ward 5) said she wants to make sure whatever plan the city chooses will work.

“I want to make sure that we have a facility that is top notch,” she said. “I don’t want something that will be run down in short order.”

Councilor Michael Kelly (D-Ward 2) said he wanted to ensure the new marina will cater to locals as well as visitors.

“I want to make sure that the people of Plattsburgh get their money’s worth,” he said, noting that the plans presented call for 30-foot boat slips.

“I don’t know anybody in my ward that has a 30-foot boat.”

Corporation Counsel John Clute explained that larger boat slips would generate more money for the city.

“Ultimately, when doing projects like this, it is a matter of economics,” he said.

“If you want people to invest in something like this, they have got to be able to recoup their investment. That’s the function of a marina.”

Clute said that whichever business gets the nod to develop the marina is likely to spend about $300,000 on improvements.

‘ECONOMY DRIVEN’

Councilor Dale Dowdle (R-Ward 3) said he did not want to see the city try to enter the marina business itself and would rather have a private firm take on the venture.

“It’s a risky business, and it is economy driven,” he said. “And, in this case, it is based on two economies: the Canadian economy and the U.S. economy.”

Councilor Rachelle Armstrong (D-Ward 1) said she wanted to make sure any plan included appropriate public access to the water.

“We want to spur the economy, but we also serve the people of Plattsburgh,” she said.

DISCUSSION GROUP

Calnon suggested an ad hoc committee — comprising himself, two councilors, City Engineer Kevin Farrington and City Recreation Superintendent Steve Peters — sit down with Clute early this week to review the proposals and make a recommendation to the full council for a vote.

New Councilors Josh Kretser (D-Ward 6) and Paul “Crusher” O’Connell (D-Ward 4) agreed to serve on the committee.

Calnon said he will also seek out two people from the community with marina interests to take part in the meeting.

“We will sit down and, hopefully, come up with a recommendation,” he said.

Email Joe LoTemplio:jlotemplio@pressrepublican.com

 

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