Dominick Vanacore 0

2) Pike Plan Business Stakeholders Request Removal of Portico and Restoration of Streetscapes

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The undersigned, which represents the majority of the "Stakeholders" under the portico, agree to the statement of the situation presented below and the subsequent recommendations.


* The sections of Wall Street and North Front Streets under the portico are currently in poor condition; are not consistent with a healthy business environment and must be improved. Currently there are approximately 12 vacant storefronts in the Pike Plan area.


* Grant money is key to the needed revitalization project and the successful efforts to obtain such funding have gone well and are appreciated.


* At the outset of the project, many of the "Stakeholders" were enthusiastic about the reconstruction of the portico. By "Stakeholders" we mean those who own or operate businesses under the portico (as opposed to the broader Uptown business community). However, as time passed and as a result of analyses by State and County departments, opinions have changed and have been communicated to the Pike Plan Commission.


It is our recommendation that:


- Consistent with the current Grants, continue the streetscape improvements as planned.


- The existing portico be removed and that Grants, as required, be sought to restore the historic appearance of this business district, in compliance with the Historic District Commission.


The reasons for these recommendations are:


- The present and proposed porticos are not historic (built in the 1970's) and are inconsistent with the historic character of the area and Kingston's promotion campaign.


- The current and future porticos would continue to have a negatvie impact on the businesses, because the storefronts are obstructed from the view of potential customers. This is particularly true for the Wall Street section, where vacancies are concentrated.


- The maintenance of the Pike Plan has been poor despite the annual assessments paid by the businesses. There is no valid estimate in the plan for the cost of good maintenance requirements and assessments.


- High taxes have driven many businesses from this area and many of the remaining businesses cannot absorb additional financial burdens. Considerable risk exists regarding the sufficiency of the construction contingency, after determining the qualified low bidders and hiring the construction manager. This poses an increased risk of an additional financial burden on the Pike Plan businesses to cover shortfalls. Elimination of the portico would reduce this risk and could make funds available for further streetscape enhancements.


Even at this late date, we, the "Stakeholders", urge you to consider our recommendations for the sake of a healthy business environment in the affected areas of Wall and North Front Streets.


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