Watertown 365 Podcast October 08, 2021

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Welcome to another episode of Watertown 365 podcast for the week of October 8th. We bring you Watertown’s latest scoops, news & stories, with 2 business spotlights that you have to watch out for in the later part of this episode. Sit back and relax, and let’s begin with our first story. Want to have a healthier lifestyle? The new Planet Fitness will celebrate grand opening in Salmon Run Mall on Wednesday! Did you experience disruptions on your water service? Areas of West Main and Morrison streets closed due to water main break. Coming up, city council supports converting two billboards on top of a Court Street building to digital signs. Nearly a year after first discussing the issue, Stewart’s Shops project comes back from the dead. Grab some friends and support local artists on the Harvest Festival Artist Craft Show happening on the 10th. At the end of the episode, we will share to you the latest updates about COVID 19 in Jefferson County. Also, let’s show some love and support to our local businesses especially during this pandemic as we give the spotlight to 2 business in Watertown this week. All that and more today for this week’s Watertown365 podcast.

Planet Fitness will celebrate grand opening in Salmon Run Mall

Planet Fitness will celebrate its grand opening in the Salmon Run Mall from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday.

The new Planet Fitness is open seven days a week: 24 hours a day from Monday to Thursday, and Friday until 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday hours are from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day.

The new club offers state-of-the-art cardio machines and strength equipment, 30-Minute Express Circuit, numerous flat screen televisions, fully equipped locker rooms with day lockers and showers, and more.

The grand opening will kick off with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 5 p.m. with the Planet Fitness team and members of the Watertown Wolves hockey team, who will be available for photos and autographs.

Specialty donuts will be available from local business Glazed and Confused. Other local vendors scheduled to be on hand for the event include JuJu 66, 5 Star Nutrition, and representatives from the U.S. Army Recruiting Center.

There will be giveaways, entertainment and fire trucks and police cars on site for kids.

New members can join for $1 a month and $10 a month with no monthly commitment through Oct. 13.

Areas of West Main and Morrison streets closed due to water main break

A water main break occurred Wednesday in Watertown, and will cause disruptions to water service from Binsse Street down to West Main Street.

According to people working on the scene, the break occurred early Wednesday morning between 6:30 a.m. and 7 a.m.

Workers said it will be “a little bit” until water will be restored to the area.

Areas of Morrison Street down to West Main Street will be closed to allow for restoration of the water main and to ensure water is restored to the residents of West Main and Morrison streets as soon as possible.

Watertown City Council supports two downtown digital signs

City Council members on Monday voted 3-1 to support converting two billboards on top of a Court Street building to digital signs.

Last year, the state Department of Transportation decided it would not allow local businessman Jake Johnson to convert two standard billboards on his building because it would violate the federal Highway Beautification Act.

Councilman Ryan Henry-Wilkinson was the only council member to vote no.

Mr. Henry-Wilkinson said he was concerned about the aesthetics. “We don’t need any more advertising. As a consumer, I wish we had less of it.”

Assemblyman Mark C. Walczyk, R-Watertown, has been working behind the scenes to get state approval to allow the two LED signs on the building.

The City Council needed to agree to the two digital billboards.

Mayor Jeffrey M. Smith asked for the resolution to be on Monday night’s agenda that encourages local state legislators to introduce legislation that will allow the LED signs.

Mr. Johnson, who owns multiple pieces of property in downtown, called the electronic billboards “a community asset” if the state allows them.

The digital signs would be “more efficient” than the two billboards on the building now, Mr. Johnson said. It now costs $700 and takes one to three weeks to have a crew to go up on the building to physically create the advertising messaging on them. That work could otherwise be done automatically “in a moment’s notice,” Mr. Johnson said.

The Highway Beautification Act was prompted in 1965 when there was a proliferation of billboards in the country and First Lady Claudia “Lady Bird” Johnson wanted to limit them.

In other action, the City Council on Monday night agreed that Thompson Park should have a blueprint for the future.

Councilwoman Lisa A. Ruggiero requested a resolution for Monday night’s City Council meeting to direct staff to seek proposals for professional design services to complete a master plan for Thompson Park.

Councilwoman Ruggiero figured that the city should put together a plan for what else should go into the park in the future since one has not been done in 36 years.

Once a firm has been selected, the city will know how much it will cost to get the master plan completed.

In recent years, the splash pad, a renovated playground and the park pool has been redone. The former bathhouse for the old pool sits dormant and there’s been talk of creating an amphitheater in the park.

Stewart’s Washington Street project comes back from the ‘dead’

Nearly a year after first discussing the issue, Stewart’s Shops has reiterated its interest in constructing a new, larger convenience store a few blocks from its existing location on Washington Street.

Michael A. Lumbis, the city’s planning and community development director, confirmed a Stewart’s representative from Ballston Spa, Saratoga County, contacted city officials about building the new store on three vacant Washington Street lots and a residential property at 108 Flower Ave. East.

Last November, Stewart’s contacted Mayor Jeffrey M. Smith to see if the City Council would have any objections to the project.

Last year, council members expressed several concerns with the location of the new store, including that it would change the character of the neighborhood.

Mayor Smith said he’s already been contacted by several neighbors who have concerns about the project, particularly about the operation of the fueling station portion of the plans.

As he did a year ago, Mayor Smith said the new location is in proximity to a series of professional and medical offices, including the QuikMed Urgent Care that he owns, and near Samaritan Medical Center.

Neighbor Maryellen Blevins, who lives next door to the site and whose husband operates a therapeutic massage business, said she received a letter from Stewart’s Shops last week about the project inviting her to a meeting to find out more about it.

She’s opposed to the convenience store and gas station, citing environmental concerns. She said that gas vapors containing Benzine, a carcinogen, would emanate from the fueling station.

Councilwoman Lisa A. Ruggiero hasn’t made up her mind whether she will oppose the project, adding it will depend whether neighbors are against it, she said.

Chuck Marshall, real estate representative for Stewart’s, said the company has been working on the project behind the scenes since it first came to light last November.

The company can proceed with the new store now that it has the property under contract to buy it from current owner, Hedy M. Cirrincione, a former Watertown resident now living in Cocoa Beach, Fla. That’s why city officials were contacted recently about the plans going forward, he said.

The existing convenience store is at 1226 Washington St., several blocks from the proposed location. Now vacant lots, the three properties at 703, 707 and 715 Washington St. were once the site of apartment buildings and have been up for sale for a few years

The current owner demolished the rental properties, after deciding she was tired of being a landlord. The three Washington Street properties are zoned Neighborhood Business, which is allowable for the store. Zoning for 108 Flower Ave. East must be changed from Residence B to Neighborhood Business, Mr. Lumbis said. The project also needs a special use permit.

The existing store has been open since 1995 “and has reached its physical and functional obsolescence, requiring complete replacement,” Mr. Marshall wrote in a Sept. 16 letter to Mayor Smith.

The proposed project includes a 3,975-square-foot store, three gas islands and 18 parking spots. No other retail businesses are in close proximity.

Harvest Festival Artist Craft Show

Every year, the members set up booths to sell their artwork for Harvest Festival. This is the end of the season at Sackets Harbor Arts Center, so grab some friends and support some local artists while you get your Christmas shopping started! It is happening on Saturday, October 9 and Sunday, October 10, hours 10am to 4pm at the Sackets Harbor Arts Center, 119 Main Street, Sackets Harbor

177 new COVID-19 cases reported Wednesday in tri-county area, 49 people now hospitalized

The tri-county area reported 177 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday.

No deaths were reported in Jefferson, Lewis or St. Lawrence counties. There are 49 people hospitalized due to the virus across the three counties.

Jefferson County reported 83 new virus cases, bringing its total since the onset of the pandemic to 9,424. There are 22 people in the hospital due to the virus, an increase of three from Tuesday. The county has experienced 92 COVID-19-related deaths.

St. Lawrence County reported 82 cases, bringing its total to 10,989. There are 23 people hospitalized, an increase of three since Tuesday. The county has reported 122 deaths.

Business Spotlight

Rogers’ Hometown Pizzeria

Location: 4 West Church Street Adams, New York

Tel. No.: 315-232-3000

Hours:   Monday – Closed
              Tuesday – Thursday 3:00 PM – 8:00 PM
              Friday – Saturday 3:00 PM – 9:00 PM
              Sunday – 3:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Rogers’ Hometown only serves the best pizza and wings in town. Rogers’ takes pride with their finest ingredients. Their dough is hand stretched daily. The secret recipe pizza sauce is mixed fresh each day! Your pizza crusts come in traditional or thick upon request.

Diamond Storage

Whether you’re looking for a Self Storage Unit to store your valuable personal belongings, or managing logistics for your business, Diamond Storage is your complete resource for home or business self storage in Watertown! Diamond Storage. They have built the business around making sure they have fixed these typical problems, and has ensured 100% customer satisfaction guarantee.

Location: Diamond Self Storage 24561 New York 37

Tel. No:  315-788-3036

Hours: offers 24 hour access, rentals and payments through their onsite Kiosk.

Thank you for tuning in to this week’s episode. Don’t forget to visit our website, https://watertown365.com/, to stay up-to-date on our local news. You can also visit and like our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/watertown365 and leave us some comments! Stay tuned for next week’s exciting episode! Have a great weekend and always stay safe!