Potsdam session seeks public input on DRI plans

A cross country skier cuts through Ives Park in Potsdam. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

POTSDAM — Public engagement is a key component of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative planning process and on Wednesday, the public will have its first opportunity to engage with state, local and development officials to share ideas to improve quality of life, generate jobs and leverage private investment in the heart of the community, according to a news release announcing the first workshop.

The first of three public open houses for the Potsdam DRI will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Town of Potsdam Community Room, 18 Elm St.

A short presentation about the DRI program will be held at 6:15 p.m. and again at 7 p.m. There will also be a variety of activity stations designed to inform the public about the DRI and to gather public input, according to the release.

“Attendees will have the opportunity to speak with the consultant team and state partners,” the release stated. “In addition to open houses, the consultant team will be conducting stakeholder group meetings and facilitating informal ‘pop-up’ stations at various locations throughout downtown over the next month.”

In addition to making the public engagement about ensuring that all stakeholders have an opportunity to know and understand the DRI process and its intended outcomes, members of the Local Planning Committee have said that the public input is fundamental to the success of the DRI.

The Local Planning Committee, which held its first meeting on Dec. 17, is made up of local and regional leaders, stakeholders, and community representatives. Their second meeting is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Potsdam Civic Center Community Room, 2 Park St., third floor. A public comment period will be held at the end of the meeting.

The planning committee meetings are intended for members to brainstorm ideas, provide direction to consultants, review planning products, and prioritize actions. Mayor Reinhold J. Tischler and Kristin Esterberg, president of the State University of New York at Potsdam, are the Potsdam LPC co-chairs.

The Consultant Team selected to assist in developing the DRI strategic investment plan is being 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.

The DRI is transforming downtown neighborhoods into vibrant communities. In its fourth year, the program will invest $100 million into 10 additional downtown neighborhoods across the state. Participating communities are nominated by the state’s 10 Regional Economic Development Councils (REDCs) based on the downtown’s potential for transformation, and each community is awarded $10 million to develop a downtown strategic investment plan and implement key catalytic projects that advance the community’s vision for revitalization. The village of Potsdam was recently selected as the North Country DRI community.

Public workshops and engagement activities will be scheduled throughout the effort to allow opportunity for public input. More information about the DRI can be Found at www.ny.gov/dri and www.PotsdamDRI.com.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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