Plattsburgh debates future of Crete Civic Center

Published: Aug. 19, 2022 at 5:00 PM EDT
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PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) - Plattsburgh officials continue to debate the future of the Crete Civic Center. While the mayor is pushing to tear down the aging center used for community events and indoor winter sports, some council members are pushing to keep it on life support for another season.

“They’re devastated,” said Steve Peters, who runs Adirondack Coast Sports, which hosts adult and kids recreation leagues at the Crete Center from November to May. He says there are about 150 teams with a total of about 1,700 players that depend on the facility. “That field would be full almost one hundred percent of the time.”

The building shut down after an electrical fire in May. Plattsburgh Mayor Chris Rosenquest says the building is looking at a minimum of $45,000 to get it back up and running, $3 million to renovate, or just under $1 million to tear down. He says the building has sewage issues, structural cracks, and a cockroach infestation, among other problems. Plus, the mayor says it costs more to run than it’s bringing in.

“In fairness to them, none of them have made decisions that have created this problem,” Peters said. He says he knows the Crete Center intimately from his time running the rec department for 10 years. He says over time, the little budget cuts added up and led to the current issue. “They cut that but then they never replaced it. But at the time, they thought it was a good decision,” Peters said.

City Councilor Elizabeth Gibbs says there is money out there for a short-term fix to keep the center open one more season and buy the city some time to come up with a plan. She says Assemblyman Billy Jones has offered $100,000 in state funding. “I can’t get behind tearing it down and not remediating when we have people willing to help,” Gibbs said.

Peters recently submitted a full report to the council on how much it would take to keep the Crete alive. “I’m willing to do whatever I can do to take care of these kids, and if that opportunity exists, here’s the pathway to do that,” he said.

The mayor says there are other needs in the city that take priority and would be a better use of taxpayer dollars. In a lengthy document last month, he outlined the various options for the center. He’s also offering public informational tours next Tuesday and Thursday from 5 to 6 p.m.