Future of the Pike Plan: Part II


Several building owners who own properties on North Front and Wall streets, where the Pike Plan canopies are located, reiterated that a petition was circulated in August of last year demanding “an individual vote in regard to all plans and/or monies received and spent on the future of the Pike Plan. Without a vote, we consider this to be taxation without representation.”

Thirty seven of the roughly 42 building owners in the Pike Plan district signed the petition and are working to take control of the destiny of the Pike Plan.

Separately, around the holidays, a handful of business and building owners sent a letter to the mayor asking for the option to remove the Pike Plan.

From the building owners perspective, the Pike Plan requires a heavy tax on an already heavy tax load. What several of the building owners would like is to examine the feasibility of removing the structure and restoring the buildings to its original facades.

It’s important to note that in one study, Norman Mintz, an expert consultant known as “Mr. Main Street,” recommends hiring a main street manager and conducting a thoughtful marketing campaign.

Mintz’s final report, which was submitted in July of 2007, urged for the creation of a business improvement district as well.

— Arthur Zaczkiewicz

5 thoughts on “Future of the Pike Plan: Part II”

  1. They need a $100,000 for the library refurbishing? I have an idea; the Mayor and S.I, Gretzinger try to get back the $150,000 they gave to Herzogs for the “floating High School” that was to be built on a flood plain. BUT that would go against the current and on going policy of graft and gratuity. Stay tuned for the canard known as the deluxe condos behind a warehouse built literally on the CSX train tracks…this was the slickest move for more affordable housing I’ve ever been privy too.

  2. [hi arthur, I sent this to rebecca last week but I’m not sure if she forwarded it to you…]

    I grew up in uptown Kingston and remember what it was like both before and after the Pike Plan was installed.
    To the best of my recollection, from the mid-to-late 70s, there were plenty of thriving businesses along Wall Street. We did most of our shopping there, and it was also a great place to hang out.

    Things seem to have really started to change when the mall opened up in around 1982. The mall not only created an instant, competitive, and trendy (at the time) Main Street, it actually sucked some anchor businesses from uptown like JC Penneys, which was right on Wall Street, and Sears, which was a stone’s throw away in the plaza.

    No one was ever dissuaded from shopping in the stockade district because the display windows were somehow rendered too dark by the covered walkways. The porticos had a unifying effect, and it really made the whole area come together.

    The stockade district has been the victim of the same effects as main streets throughout the country. The suburban trend refocused the retail out on the business highway, and the town was left with an ever dwindling supply of viable businesses.

    I applaud the various alternative businesses that have made uptown their home in the years since. I know it hasn’t been easy. At the same time, I think some of these businesses have to swallow the bitter pill that their success or failure depends to a large extent on their own efforts. Stores have to be willing to stay open on Sundays, perhaps for some time at a loss, until visitors who would like to stroll around on Sundays begin to increase because the word is out that something more is happening than the ghost town routine. Building owners have to try a little more strenuously to encourage retail stores to occupy the first floors, instead of the myriad of odd office-type businesses that could be on the 2nd floors. And perhaps some kind of better incentives could be offered by the city to make it more viable for new businesses to have a chance in this zone.

    But the idea that taking the porticos down will magically make the businesses work better? I don’t believe it, even if there are some urban planning models that suggest it. There are other cities that have covered sidewalks that manage to have viable businesses.

    And, as far as the porticos not actually matching the buildings historically? I’m about as obsessive a Kingston history nut as there is, and the mix-and-match doesn’t bother me in the slightest. Every visitor I’ve ever brought uptown, and I’ve brought many visitors uptown, has found the Pike Plan charming. And indeed it is charming.

    Maybe alter the little sidewalk extensions with the trees somewhat, if a little extra parking might help the situation, but Save The Pike Plan!

    yours truly,
    Adam Snyder

  3. The person from the Kingston Times who took Rebecca Martin’s out of context quote: “I’m sick and tired of living in this neighborhood as it is” and printed in it in large type ought to be fired. That’s was about as far from the point of Rebecca’s extremely vital advocacy in and for our community as a reporter could get. I’m crossing my fingers that ignorance will not prevail today as we go to the polls to decide the fate of Carnegie library funding.


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