The City of Plattsburgh is currently in the process of drafting a new Comprehensive Plan, something the city hasn’t done since 1999. In 2016, Lakefront Water Revitalization Plan was drafted to focus on improvements that would come to be included in the Comprehensive Plan as well.
To gain further clarity on what a new Comprehensive Plan and the LWRP mean, Center for Earth and Environmental Sciences Associate Professor, and key collaborator on the plans, Curt Gervich highlighted the purpose of each.
“[The LWRP] is a vision for what the waterfront areas of Plattsburgh could be in the future, so it is all of the parts of the city that sit on Lake Champlain and along the Saranac River,” Gervich said. “The Comprehensive Plan is for the whole city.”
Director of Landscape Architecture at Saratoga Associates Emily Gardner is working with the City of Plattsburgh to draft the Comprehensive Plan. Gardner and other individuals developing the Comprehensive Plan are now working to be sure the LWRP and Comprehensive Plan align before the LWRP is finalized and adopted, and the Comprehensive Plan’s draft complete.
Both Gervich and Gardner stressed the difference between these two plans. The LWRP focuses on revitalizing waterfront areas that have deteriorated, enhancing access to the waterfront and recreation opportunities. Meanwhile, the Comprehensive Plan covers the overall vision for the city, setting goals and creating policies that will support the continued growth of the city. It is important that planning efforts for the Comprehensive Plan, which include waterfront areas, remain consistent with the plans laid out in the LWRP.
“The Comprehensive Plan covers topics on a city-wide scale and focuses on land use and zoning-related recommendations, such as housing, economic development and transportation,” Gardner said.
SUNY Plattsburgh senior Jillian Kara, an environmental science planning and management major, is working with the city in the creation and evolution of these plans. Kara has been heavily involved with outreach. This was a way to involve community members’ opinions on what they would like to see come from the Comprehensive Plan. According to Kara, some questions included recreational opportunities, infrastructure plans and ideas about where and how to rebuild parts of the city.
“The whole process has made me feel so much closer to the City of Plattsburgh and more importantly welcomed in the community,” Kara said about inclusion with the city and college students.
Through working with the city, Kara has developed some of her own ideas as well, such as bringing food trucks to the Plattsburgh Marina. Not only would that create purpose for an otherwise under used resource, but also “create an activity that would bring people from the area together,” she said.
The collaboration between the City of Plattsburgh and SUNY Plattsburgh students is not exclusive to just Kara.
“We hope SUNY students will continue to contribute their thoughts, concerns, questions or ideas on either or both of these plans,” Gardner said.
Gardner mentioned the Late Night for the Planet virtual event that occurred March 9, which was supported by Gervich, along with students Clarice Knelly, Chole Bashy and Hadar Pepperstone. The event involved City Planner Malana Tamer, Emily Gardner and City Mayor Christopher C. Rosenquest, as well as some others working on the Comprehensive Plan. The goal of the event was to involve more of the student body and community in the discussion of what they would like to see come out of the plan.
“We want to make sure that the plans and goals reflect the younger generation as well,” said Gardner. “After all, SUNY students make up a large portion of the City’s residents, whether only for a few years, or as new graduates looking to start their careers and families in the City.”
Additionally, students may make comments on what they would like to see from the plan on the city’s website at cityofplattsburgh-ny.gov.