WHITEHALL — Local leaders are exploring ways to improve the village, and a series of public workshops are set for Thursday as they begin to develop a comprehensive plan with the Chazen Companies of Glens Falls.
“The village has not had a formal comprehensive plan in almost 50 years,” said Mayor Phil Smith on Tuesday. “The comprehensive planning started over a year ago. We put together a committee that did some preliminary legwork and took a crack at the plan. It was obvious we needed some help to make this happen.”
Chazen began working with Smith and the steering committee late last year.
“The process is extensive,” said Ethan Gaddy, a Chazen planner. “Resident input is vital to developing a comprehensive plan that reflects the ideas and values of the community.”
The comprehensive plan will outline a long-range vision for the community and establish strategies to achieve that vision, Gaddy said.
“The public workshops are important to the planning process and they provide an opportunity for residents to voice their opinions about the future of Whitehall,” Gaddy said.
For the past several months, a number of residents have been trying to improve the village’s outreach and improve its image. Take, for example, local business owner Elizabeth Robinson, who established “Whitehall Welcomers,” a group of volunteers that greets boaters docking overnight at the public marina every night during the spring and summer.
As the day unfolds on Thursday, most events will begin at the Whitehall Chamber of Commerce office at 130 Main St., where there will be an information booth offering project information and poster boards designed for resident feedback on various topics.
An interactive “Complete Streets Demonstration” walking tour begins at 10 a.m. at the Chamber of Commerce and travels along Williams Street.
Scheduled for about an hour, the tours will highlight a series of traffic signs, road striping and other features installed temporarily along Williams Street to show how small improvements to existing roadways can make walking, biking and driving safer and more enjoyable.
The demonstration is part of a Glens Falls Hospital Health Promotion Center initiative, “Creating Healthy Schools & Communities,” which is funded by the New York State Department of Health and aims to promote healthy behaviors including community walkability, Smith said.
The communities served through the initiative have been set by the state Department of Health and include Hudson Falls-Kingsbury, Granville, Fort Ann, Hadley-Luzerne and Whitehall, said Katelyn Cinzio, a hospital spokeswoman.
The “Complete Streets Demonstration” will be set up on Williams Street for the entire day, so those unable to participate in the walking tour will still be able to visit the demonstration, Gaddy said.
According to Smith, a late afternoon presentation by Chazen planners and a Q&A session are planned at the Village and Town Courtroom, 57 Skenesborough Drive.
“We want to make sure as many people in the village are involved as possible,” Smith said.