Plattsburgh businesses worry about events that close streets - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Plattsburgh businesses worry about events that close streets

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Patricia Parker has run the Plattsburgh Farmers Market for seven years. But this year Parker says she's noticed fewer shoppers.

"This year I think one time we were at our expectations," she said.

Parker says it happens whenever the city shuts down a street for special events.

"It's been down," she said.

Last year, the nonprofit group "First Weekends" began holding special events in downtown Plattsburgh the first weekend of every month to draw more people to businesses in the area. But some business owners say blocking main streets is doing the opposite.

First Weekends declined to go on camera because of the pushback.

"Sometimes we are impacted by poor access to some of these events. I'd say some of the smaller events, more than likely because people aren't anticipating them like they are for say Mayor's Cup or Battle of Plattsburgh," said Carol Czaja of the North Country Food Co-op.

Concerned Plattsburgh business owners and the group First Weekends gathered at a City Council meeting to see if a compromise could be reached. First Weekends President Tim McCormick says he will be working with the city on finding a solution. But in Mayor James Calnon's words, "closing City Hall Place is killing downtown."

"I think that we should be able to come up with something," Parker said. "I think maybe not closing the street down, but still having them stay in the same place."

Other businesses downtown say while closing the street may limit access, these special events showcase the city and help Plattsburgh businesses thrive.

"A good thing overall, because it does bring different people down and it's in conjunction of course with activities. These activities being First Weekends, they had an event in December that was the tree lighting and I really benefited from that," said Shelley Fracalossi of Mid Century Mad - Vintage Variety.

Some residents don't want First Weekends to end and hope there's a compromise.

"Do a rotation where some areas of the city close out for some events, other areas for other events," said Simon Conroy of Beekmantown.

The business owners who say the street closures are bad for business say they like First Weekends, so long as the events don't hurt their bottom lines.

Due to an earlier agreement, the city of Plattsburgh is letting First Weekends go ahead with its planned events for the first weekend of July, closing City Hall Place to cars.

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