Project Included Green Space, Art and Streetscape Improvements
New Community Space is Named After Former State Senator Betty Little
Downtown Revitalization Initiative Funds Key Catalytic Projects to Revitalize Plattsburgh
The New York State Department of State today announced the completion of Betty Little Arts Park as part of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative in the City of Plattsburgh. The new community gathering space, which was completed as part of the $1.3 million streetscape improvement project, features new green areas and amenities to bring residents together to enjoy the park named after the former Senator Betty Little, who is a great supporter of the arts.
“As we were reminded throughout the COVID -19 pandemic, beautiful places offering green spaces and art are both valuable and integral to creating vibrant downtowns,” said Secretary of State Rossana Rosado. “The Plattsburgh Downtown Revitalization Initiative is bringing great projects like the Betty Little Arts Park to fruition and providing residents and visitors a new community gathering place that will help anchor the downtown.”
The Betty Little Arts Park spans the open green space between Margaret and Durkee Streets formally known as the Westelcom Park. As part of the project, the park was transformed from an underutilized open space into an active downtown park. The park now features a large community splash pad, outdoor seating, sculptures, new landscaping and lighting, a more accessible walkway, space for future mural installations and the city’s second drinking fountain.
The project also includes future streetscape improvements to various thoroughfares in the DRI area.
State Senator Daniel Stec said, “The Betty Little Arts Park is a wonderful tribute for someone who certainly earned the respect of so many people throughout her distinguished career. I’ve known Betty for most of my life and I had the honor not only of working with her when we were both in the State Legislature, but succeeding her in the Senate. She loved serving, fighting for her district and getting results that really made a difference in the lives of so many. Betty was an arts advocate as the long-time chair of the senate’s tourism committee, so naming this park for her is certainly fitting.”
Assembly Member Billy Jones said, “It was honor to serve in the State Legislature with my friend, Senator Betty Little. She has done so much to support the arts across the North Country, and this park is a wonderful tribute to her hard work. The park is also a beautiful contribution to the local arts scene that has dramatically increased over the years and provides important greenspace and a splash pad for locals to enjoy. There are a lot of great things happening in downtown Plattsburgh thanks to state funding and the hard work of the city, volunteers and organizations and I look forward to what the future has in store for this beautiful waterfront city.”
Plattsburgh Mayor Christopher C. Rosenquest, said, “As we've seen over the last several decades, investments in the arts is an investment in economic development. Communities like the City of Plattsburgh who invest in the arts not only increase our attractiveness to businesses but we also attract new members to the community. Even with that in the background, I will always maintain that investments in the arts, parks, and green space are investments in our community our quality of life. These are investments in the people who currently live, grow, and thrive right here in the City of Plattsburgh. The completion of this park and the many other positive projects associated to the DRI will again help grow our City. My hope is that this project serves as an example of a successful collaboration between our community stakeholders and our state partners. We will use the success of this project as an example of what we can accomplish as a City."
The City recently hosted a grand opening event for the Betty Little Arts Park, bringing together community leaders and residents with the artists whose art is featured in the park.
The City of Plattsburgh was named a winner for the Round 1 of Downtown Revitalization Initiative. Downtown Plattsburgh is Clinton County’s gathering place. Over the last few years, strong and sustainable job growth in the region has increased the demand for housing and retail opportunities in the downtown. Under the DRI, Plattsburgh will build on recent investments, including a new municipal marina, streetscape improvements, and renovation of historic buildings to create a vibrant downtown that serves the needs of local employees, residents, students and visitors. The focus will be on mixed-use infill development, a greater variety of retail and housing, expansion of the successful Farmers’ Market, and providing an enhanced connection to the waterfront.
About the Downtown Revitalization Initiative
The Downtown Revitalization Initiative launched in 2016 to accelerate and expand the revitalization of downtowns and neighborhoods to serve as centers of activity and catalysts for investment in all ten regions of the state. The initiative represents an unprecedented and innovative plan-to-act strategy that couples strategic planning with immediate implementation.
In the first four years of the program, the state committed $400 million to invest in downtowns that are ripe for revitalization and have the potential to become magnets for redevelopment, business, job creation, greater economic and housing diversity, and opportunity. The fifth round of the DRI will have an additional $200 million commitment. Participating communities are nominated by the state's 10 Regional Economic Development Councils based on the downtown's potential for transformation. Each community is awarded at least $10 million to develop a downtown strategic investment plan and implement key catalytic projects that advance the community's vision for revitalization.
The initiative is headed by New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado. Communities receive support from private sector experts and a team of state agency staff led by the Department of State in close partnership with Empire State Development, and state Homes and Community Renewal.