EDITORIAL: Meeting needed as DRI grows | EDITORIAL

by AryanArtnews
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The Downtown Revitalization Plan is a state urban plan that requires as much public participation as possible, so we are encouraged by what the Collins administration plans to update the public on Monday.

Two meetings, one in the afternoon and one in the evening at two downtown cultural venues, should be incorporated into the schedules of downtown businessmen and the public.

A portion of the $10 million DRI funding allocated to the city in 2016 has been well used to fund startups as well as existing small businesses looking to expand after a few years of growth. The idea is to help businesses that drive traffic, such as shops and restaurants.

Using DRI funds to launch the city’s arts district, including mini murals on electrical boxes and larger murals on old brick houses, banners, sidewalk stamps and public art installations, is now evident in sketches of street corners and things.

However, due to the pandemic and the passing of DRI’s original cheerleader and coordinator, former Mayor Ed Bartholomew, the DRI’s focus on South and Elm streets has been slow to progress, and he was the city’s economic development guru at the time. his passing. Changes in mayoral management, rising costs, and the public-private nature of the effort have kept some progress below the surface or on a slow train.

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Great to hear the latest news and finally see some new sketches from Mayor Bill Collins and representatives from Bonacio Construction, the company that works with the city to build and renovate buildings on South and Elm streets. In long-term public-private projects, lines can become blurred, so these distinctions need to be clarified on a regular basis.

The subsequent downsizing of the proposed year-round farmers’ market construction — a key element of DRI’s plan at the outset — was a disappointment to some and a welcome reality check to others. Common inputs can further define various aspects of this DRI component.

A related project involved a proposed new car park. The new condos planned by Bonacio will require tenant car space, and the city may have other parking needs now or in the future. Collins and others have suggested that the parking facility may be best suited to the existing parking lot on Elm Street behind the Glen Street business — a site that many past mayoral administrations have considered building.

The city is completing a parking study and has applied for federal grants to help pay for parking, and those plans are likely to spark the most discussion Monday, from letters to editors, social media comments and regional publications. The grant will require the new car park to become a mixed-use transport hub. Even if Elm Street was not chosen as the site, the benefits of such a facility deserve full consideration.

The Greater Glens Falls Transit system could relocate its street bus terminal to a new transit hub facility. This would provide a more central location and provide better shelter for bus users and bus drivers and some basic amenities such as restrooms if they are included in the facility’s design. Currently, bus drivers use the washrooms across from City Hall where buses drop off and drop off passengers, but passengers don’t always know they’re available there.

The transport hub will allow the removal of the utility bus terminal structure bolted to the Ridge Street walkway. As a result, sidewalks that are sometimes crowded with passengers waiting, leaving and entering the bus are left unobstructed. It was Bartholomew’s government that saw the need and created the local transit system – unfortunately most of the public is unaware of it, but worth a shot, especially when gas costs around $5 a gallon in the case of. Bartholomew must have imagined or hoped that the transit system would grow and modernize, and whenever a garage was built, incorporating it into a transit hub facility would be an appropriate follow-up.

In addition, seasonal trolleybuses to and from Lake George could bring Lake George visitors more into the heart of the city’s business district with centralized transportation, or trolleybus pickup points could be reimagined and placed in addition to regular buses. As the city adds electric vehicle charging stations and pursues other green initiatives, it also needs to take a look at its public transportation opportunities.

As we write this, there are many questions and assumptions about the DRI program. But thanks to the efforts of local groups, city officials and business owners, there has been movement in the city center, as demonstrated by new, colorful bike racks for business expansion, renovations and repositioning. The city center is ready to go, and invitation signs have been issued. The public should participate in information sessions with an open mind, and city officials should continue to seek public input. We hope they can all find parking nearby.

Local editorials are written by The Post-Star editorial board, which includes Michelle Rice, president and director of local sales and marketing; Brian Corcoran, regional finance director and former publisher; and Bob Condon, local news editor.

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