$36.7 million investment could bring 100 jobs to Potsdam

Clarkson University has submitted a consolidated funding application to help fund a plan for the refurbishment of Damon Hall, Snell Hall and Congdon Hall on Clarkson’s downtown campus, build a whitewater park on the Raquette River and enhance streetscapes in the village’s downtown business district.

Clarkson is seeking $7.3 million from the state to fill out its $36.7 million plan.

The plan calls for spending $3.1 million on Damon Hall, $11.9 million on Congdon Hall, $16.7 million on Snell Hall and $4.9 million for the whitewater park and downtown enhancements, according to Executive Director of the Shipley Center for Innovation Matthew E. Draper.

“It will cost village taxpayers no money,” Potsdam Village Mayor Reinhold J. Tischler said. “We will actually make money when the buildings are returned to the tax rolls.”

The downtown enhancements could include lighting, floral installations, benches and new curbing among other things, Mr. Tischler said.

“Anything to make downtown a more attractive place,” he said.

Construction of the whitewater park below the east dam on the Raquette River could lead to job opportunities, Mr. Tischler said, such as in kayak rentals.

The plan is to be part of a three-park whitewater complex combined with a park in Stone Valley in Colton and a park in Canton on the Grasse River.

A press release issued from Clarkson said the $37 million investment will bring more than 100 jobs on top of tax revenues for the village.

The work on the downtown campus buildings, Clarkson Innovators Colony, will result in residential space in Congdon Hall and Snell Hall focused on attracting graduate students, young faculty members and others associated with new business incubator space that will be developed in Damon Hall, according to the application.

Both Congdon and Snell will also have mixed use space available for retail, museums, artist studios and small performance spaces.

Historically, Mr. Draper said, the development grant awards are announced in mid-December.

“The next step,” Mr. Draper said, “is to bring in the architects so we can understand what we have to work with.”

The biggest part of the project, Mr. Draper said, will be installing new heating, ventilation and air conditioning for the buildings and performing roof repair.

Once the buildings are completed they will be managed by J.R. Weston, Inc. the University’s for-profit subsidiary.

Until the grant is awarded and plans finalized it is impossible to set a deadline for completion, Mr. Draper said.

“Our plan is to start right away and get it done as soon as possible,” he said.

By Tom Graser, Watertown Daily Times