Joint board meeting names pair to DRI Local Planning Committee

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KIRKLAND — The selection of a Downtown Revitalization Initiative Local Planning Committee, or LPC, prompted the first-ever joint board meeting between the Village of Clinton and Town of Kirkland on Monday, April 29 in the Town of Kirkland Municipal Administration Office Building.

Town of Kirkland Supervisor Robert J. Meelan named Town Councilman-Deputy Supervisor Garry Colarusso and Supervisor’s Administration Asst. Patricia Maxam the town board’s representatives on the Local Planning Committee. Village of Clinton Mayor Steven J. Bellona said he and his board would wait until Monday, May 6 at their regularly scheduled meeting to discuss who from their board would be best suited for the positions.

The hour-long gathering, involving a Power-Point presentation by Patty Louise, informed both boards of the details involved in presenting a favorable application to the state for the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant, as well as the deadline for submitting the application.

Jennifer Waters, vice president of business development and communications at Mohawk Valley EDGE, joined Louise in her explanation. It was Waters who initially suggested Governor Cuomos’ four-year old DRI program to Louise as a possible solution to raise money for the repair and remodeling of the Clinton Arena after it was selected the 2018 Kraft Hockeyville recipient.

​However, when Louise and others from the Hockeyville committee saw they could do more for the community than just fix the arena, they felt this was a great opportunity for both the town and village together.

With the DRI application filing cutoff date rapidly approaching, Louise and Waters stressed the point of selecting at least two members from each board to jumpstart the committee which will eventually total 12 to 15 people. Once the LPC is established it will have a deadline to review the list of projects submitted by residents of Kirkland and Clinton no later than May 13. The LPC will then present a draft list of projects to the Town/Village boards by May 17. Subsequently, the boards will make a determination of the projects to include in the application by May 22.

That final list, along with the the rest of the application criteria, will then be filed by 3:59 p.m. on May 31.

​Waters admitted that other communities in the past have had the benefit of planning committees who worked specifically on applying for the DRI, however, since Kirkland doesn’t have a planning committee, they would have to hire one, or form one.

Colarusso asked Waters, in her opinion, what she thought the best way to establish a committee was, hire one or form one?

“From our standpoint,” she said. “I think anytime a community group of volunteers can put an application together, it may not be as strong, or as analytical as a planning firm may do, but I think It shows something much different. You can hire a planning firm, but they’re not going to come in here and tell you...they can’t put into words the heart of your downtown, right? We’re all involved in this because we believe in our downtown, we believe in our village and our town. A planning firm is not going to be able to put those same sentiments on paper, and we’ve seen that 100 percent of the time. A community that hires someone to put an application together, and they’re not from there, if they don’t work, live and breathe there it doesn’t have the same affect and the judges can tell.”

Louise said there is still time for anyone who wants to hear more about the plan by attending a meeting scheduled on Wednesday, May 15 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Town of Kirkland Library.

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