PLATTSBURGH - Clinton County Public Transit has a new home.
The public transit system moved Nov. 1 from its home of approximately three years off Military Turnpike to a new 7,600-square-foot facility on Arizona Avenue. The facility is comprised of renovated space from the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base's education center and new construction, which allows for administrative duties to be performed at the site as well as daily maintenance, washing and repairs to the public transit system's buses.
A ceremonial ribbon-cutting was held for the new CCPT headquarters and maintenance garage facility Nov. 16, during which state and local dignitaries applauded the efforts of many to rehabilitate the derelict building. Deputy County Administrator Rodney L. Brown said many who knew the property for the former education center have been pleasantly surprised to see new life being breathed into the building.
"If this facility hadn't been used for this purpose, I can't imagine how long it would've taken to convert it to some other type of use," said Brown. "The building was really in poor condition."
Construction of the new facility, which included asbestos abatement and partial demolition of the former education center building, took a little more than a year, though the discussion and efforts to relocate the CCPT offices and garage date back to 2002, said Brown.
After overcoming several obstacles, the project has finally come to fruition, said Clinton County Legislature Chairman James R. Langley Jr., R-Area 7.
"The transformation is stunning," said Langley.
The overall price tag for development of the new facility came in at just under $3 million, said Langley. The majority of the cost was covered by a $1.6 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant and a $1.2 million Federal Transit Agency matching grant, of which the county share was $140,000. Additionally, the Plattsburgh Airbase Redevelopment Corporation leased the property to the county at no cost until the title of the proeprty was transferred to the county this week. The cost of the property itself was $1.
"Dollar for dollar, it's almost as good a buy for the local taxpayers as the old airport building that we overlook," Langley said, referring to the investment made in the development of Plattsburgh International Airport. "I know I speak for all of the legislators on the transportation committee when I tell you they are very proud of this building."
"Clinton County Public Transit is a great success," said state DOT representative Stephanie Mielnik, "and with this garage, I can see it having much more success in the future."
The CCPT began its operation Feb. 14, 1983, then known as the Clinton Area Rural Transit, or CART, system. The service began with three 12-passenger vans traveling from the city to rural locations and averaged 7,215 passengers a year. The operation has since expanded to its fleet of 16 buses which includes two senior and two paratransit buses. The service consists of three intracity routes and rural routes to Rouses Point, Champlain, Mooers, Churbusco, Ausable, Riverview, Standish, Peru and other locations annually serving approximately 150,000 passengers.