Plattsburgh businesses navigate Margaret Street construction

Published: May. 18, 2023 at 11:53 PM EDT
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PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) - As New York’s North Country prepares for its busiest tourism season, some businesses in Plattsburgh are concerned about a downtick in business driven by major construction in the heart of the city.

The work going on on Margaret Street and several surrounding streets is to replace water infrastructure that’s more than 100 years old. While this project is taking place, parking in the area has been reduced and traffic flows are constantly changing. Business owners in the area tell WCAX it’s starting to impact them.

Fred Villari’s Martial Arts Center on Margaret Street welcomes roughly 125 students each week. Owner David Boise says the impacts construction has had on parking is making running the business difficult. “It’s impacted every business down here, to be honest,” he said. “The parents are complaining it takes seven to ten minutes to find a place to park if you have to go back around to pick them up and drop them off.”

Boise says he has a wonderful and loyal group of students and isn’t too worried about the long-term business impacts just yet. He says the concern is probably greater for restaurants and similar businesses that are just recovering from pandemic impacts.

Amos Owen, owner of Peabody’s Pub just off of Margaret Street, says it’s the same over there. “We’re seeing some of the effects of people making other decisions because the traffic is directing them away from our location,” hesaid. He says it’s most noticeable during daytime hours when crews are at work and road closures are taking place. “If business before five stays slow then we may have to revisit later openings for the duration of it if we’re if there’s no point in being open.”

Both Boise and Owen say they know the work needs to be done but day-to-day communication with the city has been lacking. They acknowledged the several meetings the city hosted, but also said the timing wasn’t great for businesses busiest in the evening.

Plattsburgh Mayor Chris Rosenquest says they’re being mindful of the impacts the project is having on local businesses and working with the North Country Chamber to give them a boost. “The plan is what it is and there’s really no delay in the plan at this point,” Rosenquest said. “Our message remains loud and clear -- downtown businesses are open we do encourage residents and visitors to go downtown.”

Most construction should be completed this summer, with construction wrapping up by August 2024.

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