Closure of Plattsburgh parking lot prompts concerns

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. A parking crunch could be getting worse in Plattsburgh with the proposed closure of the Durkee St. parking lot, and it has the community talking.

Twenty years ago the North Country Food Co-op first opened its doors for business. It's in a prime location on Bridge and Durkee Street, right in the heart of Plattsburgh. Little did they know they would soon be facing a major problem.

"Very little people are going to want to park far away, come to the store and then lug their groceries a quarter mile down this busy street to their cars," said Co-op General manager Ryan Demers. He's critical of plans to eliminate almost 300 parking spots near his business. "If you want more people to come here and spend their money and live here and shop here, then you have to find a way to have them park their cars near by. We do live in a car-oriented society."

The idea of pulling parking spots here stems from the downtown revitalization initiative, but it's not a part of it. Paul DeDominicas, the city's director of community development says the city still doesn't know what will be built on this lot. "We need to a request for intrest to developers to see whats feasible and what people are interested in building- what fits the city," he said.

But he says leaving it as a parking lot is out of the question. "There's a lot of different uses. There's people who work here, there's people who live here, there's people who visit here, so trying to balance all of those needs can be difficult, but we have to be ready for the change that's coming and I think people understand that," DeDominicas said.

The city is also committed to adding 287 parking spots somewhere else in the city to make up for building on this lot, but they don't have a plan for doing that either. "We want to get this right so were really trying to make sure we examine everything before we say no, we can't do something," DeDominicas said.

The city has no immediate intentions of starting any project until the parking problem is solved.