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Commission to Study Center City Issues

PLATTSBURGH, NY __ Practical proposals to many of the issues facing the center city of Plattsburgh will be the focus of a joint city/college commission this spring.

SUNY Plattsburgh President John Ettling and Plattsburgh Mayor Donald Kasprzak That announcement came during a news conference Wednesday, April 4, in the Common Council Chambers in Plattsburgh City Hall, which was attended by John Ettling, president of the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh, and Donald Kasprzak, mayor of Plattsburgh.

The commission of nine individuals - city residents and college representatives - is expected to issue a report, including recommendations on possible ways to improve the quality of life in the center city, by mid July of this year. Dr. Edward Miller, a SUNY Plattsburgh chemistry professor and former interim provost, has agreed to chair the commission.

Those individuals appointed by Mayor Kasprzak to the commission are:
* Neil Fesette - Realtor and city property owner
* Karen Larkin - Center City resident, downtown business owner and SUNY Plattsburgh faculty member
* Nancy Monette - City resident and co-chair of Campus Community Partnership
* William Provost - City Councilor (Ward 6)

College representatives appointed by President Ettling include:
* Alyssa Amyotte - Graduate student and student member of the SUNY Board of Trustees
* William Laundry - Vice President for Student Affairs and co-chair of Campus Community Partnership
* Stephen Matthews - Dean of Students
* Allison Swick-Duttine - Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life

Ettling said he hopes the commission will generate some creative suggestions that the city and college can consider and perhaps implement.

"Since coming to Plattsburgh nearly three years ago, I have worked with the city in improving relations between SUNY Plattsburgh and the city. Since taking office as Mayor, Don Kasprzak and I have had several practical meetings about new approaches to a number of issues in Plattsburgh.

"One of those concerns is the high density of off-campus students living in the center city. I look to this commission for positive, creative ideas that will improve the lives for all residents - homeowners and students- living in this area of Plattsburgh."

Kasprzak termed the creation of this commission as a very positive approach between the city and the college in dealing with the center city issues. 

"I am very pleased to have the opportunity, as mayor, to work with President Ettling and the College. Plattsburgh State is a vital part of our city's success, and working together in any capacity can only make our community stronger. To correct any problems in this area, cooperation and communication are key to our success."

The goals of the commission are to identify the specific issues facing the center city area and propose sensible, practical answers to these problems. The commission is expected to issue its report by mid July of this year. City and college officials will review the recommendations and begin to implement what may be feasible.

Kasprzak cautioned not to expect dramatic overnight changes. However, he anticipated a more positive long-term future on the center city. "I'm sure this will be a work in progress as change will take time."

Ettling and Kasprzak both praised the efforts of FAIR (For All Interested Residents) for working to improve the relationship between homeowners and students in the center city.

"FAIR has done a remarkable job in its efforts to develop a better understanding among the various homeowners, students and landlords in the center city," said Ettling.  "This is remarkable considering that FAIR must work with an every changing off-campus student population living in the center city. I hope the commission's recommendations will build on what FAIR has accomplished to date."

Ettling and Kasprzak also announced that they both are planning to attend the Second Annual Best Practices in Building University/City Relations Conference in Gainesville, Fl. this June. The two hope to obtain information about programs and initiatives from other cities and colleges that have been successfully implemented and have led to improved positive relations and addressed town gown concerns.

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