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Ogdensburg officials still hopeful St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center won’t close.


Ogdensburg officials are still hopeful St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center won’t close.

Two weeks have passed since a state Office of Mental Health public meeting on the hospital’s fate here drew more than 300 people and there has been no announcement to close the 123-year-old facility.

A good sign, City Councilor Jennifer Stevenson hoped at last night’s council meeting.

“It’s a difficult decision to make under any circumstances,” she said. “But I’m optimistic that they’re (OMH officials) are looking at the information that we gave them.”

Mayor William D. Nelson is also hopeful.

“I think they’re doing their due diligence,” he said, noting that OMH officials may have been swayed by the May 15 meeting.

“I think it was a successful rally,” the mayor said. “It was a wide array of people. Quite frankly, I think it was a surprise.”

Deputy Mayor Michael D. Morley believes that the Trinity building and the Children & Youth Services agency are the hospital’s trump cards against closing.

“I think we’re safe,” he said.

Councilor William D. Hosmer isn’t that sure.

“I don’t know what which way the state is leaning right now,” he said.

City officials hope a deal can be struck for the nearby Alliance Energy power plant and the state to agree to a long-term contract with to sell low cost heat to the psychiatric center and state prison that would be feasible for the state and give Alliance incentive to invest in the 19-year-old, 25-megwatt plant.

Alliance officials are apparently putting together a redevelopment plan with the state, according to City Manager John M. Pinkerton.

Low-cost power, officials are confident, will not only boost the cogen plant, the psychiatric center and prison. It can also be used to grow more business and jobs in the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority’s industrial park.

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