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Potsdam OKs waterfront development plan

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POTSDAM- The village board has taken its first steps toward realizing a 10-year, $2.6-million development plan meant to revitalize downtown and draw more visitors to Potsdam.

The board signed off on the Downtown and Waterfront Revitalization Plan this week. The 198-page document, which has been in the works since 2009, will drive Potsdam’s development goals for the next decade, according to Frederick J. Hanss, Potsdam’s Planning and Development director.

The first step is the renovation of Ives Park, which will include wider pathways, new lighting, an ice skating rink and an open-air pavilion for use by the Potsdam farmers market.

The village has already received some funding for the architectural and engineering planning work, which will take place over the winter, Mr. Hanss said. The park renovations will be complete by the end of summer 2013.

The next stage in the plan is the White Water Parks Program. This partnership between the villages of Potsdam, Canton and Colton will create three separate parks, one in each village, to promote white water rafting in the area. The village board created an advisory committee for the project, which will receive funding through a state grant.

The plan also calls for the creation of a “Raquette Riverwalk,” a pedestrian walkway that will cross over Fall Island following the river alongside Market Street, Maple Street, Raymond Street and Route 11.

“One of the very first things that these people said they wanted to see downtown was a riverwalk,” Mr. Hanss said.

Period lighting, along with sculptures and other artwork, will be placed along the path to make it stand out and entice visitors.

Two separate paths will branch off from the main walkway, one leading toward Ives Park and the other to Clarkson University.

Mr. Hanss estimated that it would take between $40,000 and $50,000 to complete the riverwalk, although an exact price will not be determined until the architectural work and engineering work is completed.

“It’s kind of a moving target at this point, Mr. Hanss said.

The village board decided to apply for state grant funding for the riverwalk.

Finding funding, doing the necessary architectural and engineering work and constructing the riverwalk will take about three years, Mr. Hanss said.

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