To the Editor:
Our beautiful village holds a Summer Festival each July. Market Street, in downtown Potsdam (between Elm and Main Streets), is converted into a pedestrian only zone for the duration of the festival.
What if we made this pedestrian zone a permanent feature of downtown Potsdam, similar to those found in Ithaca and Burlington, VT? Featured could be a semi-permanent stage/bandstand available to performers of all stripes. Remove the asphalt and replace it with either brick or Potsdam sandstone. Put in benches and new tree plantings. Replace the current streetlights (which do nothing to illuminate the sidewalks) with Victorian style street lamps. Encourage businesses selling food and drink to set up awnings and canopies for tea/beer gardens on the sidewalks.
During the winter months the area could be festively decorated and perhaps we could have a “WinterFest” as creative and fun as our Summer Fests tend to be.
This will require rerouting traffic and creating some new parking to replace the dozen or so parking spots that would be lost on Market St.. And if we really go “whole hog” we could have horse drawn carriage rides from satellite parking areas to downtown.
It is quite possible that the people coming to Potsdam to shop at Walmart and Lowes, may actually take some time to unwind, eat, drink and relax in downtown Potsdam.
We need to do something to keep our businesses thriving and our downtown humming with hungry shoppers.
Frank Thies, Potsdam