Potsdam narrows down downtown revitalization list to 15 projects

WWNY Potsdam narrows down downtown revitalization list to 15 projects

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Potsdam’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative is getting a final local review with 15 projects in the running and nearly $10 million to spend.

They want to see more people strolling downtown as well as more murals.

“The thing that’s unique about Potsdam, and what ties our Downtown Revitalization project together, is the fact that it’s really focused on the Raquette River,” said Fred Hanss, the village of Potsdam’s director of planning and development.

A local planning committee has whittled down a list of 47 projects to just 15. A new arts center in a former tile store and a basement next door is one of the 15.

“It’s just screaming to be an arts center and that’s what we’re going to do here,” said Maggie McKenna, SLC Arts Council executive director.

She hopes. Wednesday night, a committee will decide which of the 15 to submit for state funding. The projects are meant to transform the village.

“It will create more opportunities for people to come downtown and find entertainment and find interesting cultural experiences,” said McKenna.

It would take about $14.2 million to do them all. The state has $9.7 million to give. Securing that money to revitalize downtown was a project years in the making.

Potsdam tried and tried again. Four times in all it competed for the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. In October, it came up a winner.

Hanns thinks most of the 15, maybe all, may be submitted. Then it will be the state’s choice.

“This happens every 40 or 50 years where you really have an event maybe that triggers that kind of massive investment,” he said.

Some others on the list of 15 are an expansion of the Clarkson Inn, a bigger North Country Children’s Museum, and a canoe/kayak park. A new riverwalk would tie it all together.

The public can view Wednesday night’s meeting live at 6 p.m. via YouTube at www.PotsdamDRI.com.

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