POTSDAM — The village’s first Local Planning Committee meeting for the Downtown Revitalization Initiative is happening Tuesday and the public’s involvement in the development of the Strategic Investment Plan that will guide the investment of the $9.7 million award in transformative downtown projects is critical, according to village Planning And Development Director Frederick J. Hanss.
“It’s hugely important because we want to make sure that as the planning process moves along that we have projects and we have a direction that the community approves of,” Mr. Hanss said Friday. “We want to have people in the community that understand what those projects are, what they are going to look like, how much they are going to cost, who the players are, so that there are no surprises, either for the community or for the village. We want to make sure everybody is on the same page.”
In reaching that goal, public workshops and engagement activities will be scheduled, at least monthly, to allow opportunity for public input, according to a news release announcing the first meeting.
The committee, which is cochaired by Mayor Reinhold Tischler and SUNY Potsdam President Kristin Esterberg, with meet from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Potsdam Community Room, 2 Park St., third floor, after which there will be a 15-minute public comment period.
Mr. Hanss said Tuesday’s agenda will consist of going over the roles and responsibilities of all the players involved in the process, what kinds of services will the urban planning consulting team provide, the project schedule and scope, spending a “considerable amount of time talking about community engagement,” and scheduling future meetings and workshops.
Among the projects the village wanted to pursue and was put into their DRI application was a streetscape enhancement along the Market Street National Historic Register District, which goes from Depot Street over to the intersection with Maple, Main and Market, and then down Raymond Street.
The funding could go toward replacing the existing sidewalks that are there with one that has a decorative concrete band on it, put in new street trees and “bio-tree planters” which act as stormwater management infrastructure.
Mr. Hanss said when he met up with his counterpart in Saranac Lake, the municipality that won the DRI last year, he learned that not only did many of the projects they applied for get approved, but during the brainstorming of their Local Planning Committee new projects surfaced and were approved for the use of the DRI funding.
“And it stands to reason, how do you capture all of the projects that the community might have in mind,” Mr. Hanss said. “There might be projects that were not ready at the time that we applied but are now, so the committee, the state, the consultants are all open to the possibility that there may be new projects that may come out of the local planning process and that’s just fine, we encourage that.”
The committee is made up of local and regional leaders, stakeholders, and community representatives who will attend a variety of meetings at which they will be asked to brainstorm ideas, provide direction to consultants, review planning products, and prioritize actions, according to a news release issued announcing Tuesday’s meeting.
The Committee’s members are Hugo Attemann, Village Planning Board; Erik C. Backus, Clarkson University, director of engineering management, civil & environmental engineering; Allison Carney, owner of Brick and Mortar Music; Town Supervisor Ann M. Carvill; Town Clerk Cindy J. Goliber; Potsdam Chamber of Commerce President Kellie Hitchman; Village Trustee Maggie M. McKenna; Community Bank, NA Vice President Duane M. Pelkey; Nicholas Sheehan, Atomic Design Services, LLC; and village resident Lee Van de Water.
Staffing the Local Planning Committee are Mr. Hanss; Village Administrator Gregory O. Thompson; county Planning Office Director Jason C. Pfotenhauer; and county Industrial Development Agency Chief Executive Officer Patrick J. Kelly.
The village will receive technical support from the state for the development of the plan, including a consultant team led by M.J. Engineering and Land Surveying, P.C. of Clifton Park and includes Environmental Design & Research, Landscape Architecture, Engineering & Environmental Services, D.P.C., CLA SITE Landscape Architecture, Engineering & Planning, PC, Lacey Thaler Reilly Wilson, E.M. Pemrick and Company, and Captain Consultants, LLC.