At the Thursday May 19th Common Council Meeting, Councilors voted to approve a proposal created by Mayor Rosenquest to invest $1.5 million dollars into the City’s parks.
Parks Renewal Project
Based on the feedback of the Common Council as well as the great pride our community takes in our parks and greenspace, the Parks Renewal Project will revitalize five of our major parks: Melissa Penfield, South Acres, South Platt St. (Fox Hill), Blumette, and the US Oval. This redesign will include a comprehensive assessment of the state of each park to supplement the Plattsburgh Parks Report created in 2021. Community engagement sessions such as the new Parks Come Alive event series and consultant driven surveys will be used to engage neighborhood users and other stakeholders to come and discuss the ideal use of each park. Once completed, a detailed improvement plan will be presented to Council for adoption.
In addition to the revamp of these five major parks, improvements to the City’s smaller parks will be based on a maintenance “punch-list” that has been developed over the last year. While this punch-list does not include a full redesign for these smaller parks, it will result in their gradual improvement.
"With the dissolution of our recreation programs, we're looking to offset that loss with other recreational opportunities for our residents and visitors," Rosenquest said. "This includes improving our sports fields, adding age and ability appropriate facilities, and ensuring ongoing park improvements for future generations."
Parks Renewal Project Timeline
Phase I of the project would begin this year with a $500,000 investment into park improvements based on the punch-list. It would also include a $120,000 investment to contract with engineering firm Barton & Loguidice for a redesign of the City’s five major parks, establish a “Friends of Plattsburgh’s Parks” program to encourage and facilitate public participation in the upkeep of our parks, and identify opportunities for additional funding through community partnerships.
Phase II would begin in 2023 and include using $800K to implement the recommendations made in the design phase of the project.
Phase III would also begin in 2023 and include evaluation of additional improvements to other parks not included in the initial project and Phase IV would look to implement in 2024 those improvements recommended during Phase III.
Plattsburgh Parks Report
In April 2021, the Mayor’s Office, in partnership with the Community Development Office and the Department of Public Works, published the Plattsburgh Parks Report. This report outlined both the amenities provided by each park and the major issues faced by each park. Each park received a “grade” which was subjective but based on usability and perceived safety.
Since that report’s release, responsibility for park maintenance has been shifted to the Department of Public Works in order to utilize its larger staff and expertise in maintenance of the City’s critical infrastructure. Since the Plattsburgh Parks Report was released in 2021, the City has performed a thorough, park-by-park analysis of the repairs needed by each park and of potential upgrades to be evaluated.
Economic Impact of Improved Parks
Quality parks and outdoor recreation space contribute to the total economic picture of our community. Besides adding to the attractiveness of a neighborhood, parks provide space for sports, recreation, the arts, and other neighborhood activities. They are gathering places for the community and increase pride in our neighborhoods and our City.
The City of Plattsburgh has over 20% in the general fund reserves and there is ARPA funding in place to contribute to this project. Projects like this will make a lasting impact on the community, employers, and visitors. The City’s natural resources are It’s critically important for the City to responsibly develop and maintain its natural resources. Given the City’s many years of underinvestment in those natural resources, it’s also the perfect time to reinvest in our parks and community spaces.