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Plaza owners propose change in Watertown connector road

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Talk of building a connector road in the Stateway Plaza parking lot took a detour last week.

During a City Hall meeting Wednesday, plaza owners Ben Wygodny and Martin Wenger, both of Montreal, told city officials they would like to see changes made to the plans for the road that would go through the strip mall’s parking lot.

City Engineer Kurt W. Hauk said Thursday that the owners suggested building the road closer to an existing church in the plaza and farther north than was shown in plans drawn up by his staff. The plaza owners want to keep more parking space intact, he said.

The city Engineering Office will consider the suggestion, and the city plans to meet with the owners again next month, Mr. Hauk said.

“We’ll see how this plays out,” he said.

Last spring, the city approached the owners with the proposal to build a connector road to spur development of a big-box retailer at nearby City Center Plaza, site of several restaurants and two hotels off Arsenal Street.

The project has been discussed for years and came up again when Alexandria Bay developer Patrick M. Donegan, who owns City Center Plaza, told the city the lack of the road was the only issue preventing him from luring a national retailer.

At the Wednesday meeting, Mr. Wygodny and Mr. Wenger were joined by Jeffrey A. Foster, a real estate manager who works for Longley Jones Property Management Corp. and oversees the plaza. The city was represented by City Manager Sharon A. Addison, Elliott B. Nelson, confidential assistant to the city manager, and Mr. Hauk.

The city Engineering Office has projected it would cost about $1.75 million to build the road. But that price could increase if plans are reconfigured, Mr. Hauk said.

The city had proposed a 1,400-foot-long, three-lane connector that would curve around the parking lot and link to Commerce and Gaffney drives at the other end. Plans also could include demolishing a small, unoccupied structure at the back of the property near the church.

The city would have to negotiate a price to acquire some land in the parking lot for it to proceed.

If it fails to negotiate a price, the city could obtain the needed land through eminent domain.

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