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City seeks new funding for waterfront redevelopment

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The city of Ogdensburg hopes to secure state funding next year to allow it to begin readying former waterfront industrial sites for redevelopment.

The city is finalizing a proposal for the state Department of State in order to apply for more funding which will allow it to move ahead with the planned cleanup and redevelopment of several former industrial sites along the city’s waterfront.

Andrea L. Smith, city planning and development director, said the goal is to have the report completed and turned over to the state by the beginning of 2014.

The report, the end result of a roughly $420,000 project paid for by the state and city, will include analysis on best uses for the sites. The city’s share in the cost was $36,000.

The areas being considered for redevelopment are all located along the St. Lawrence River and include the Marina District near the mouth of the Oswegatchie River, the former Diamond International/Standard Shade Roller property on the west side of the city, the former location of Fort La Presentation and the former Augbury Oil property which borders Paterson Street on the east and Caroline Street on the west.

Ms. Smith said the city’s long-term goal is to develop residential condominiums, apartment complexes and commercial space along the waterfront to breathe new life into the economically stagnant city.

But that vision is 16 years out, Ms. Smith said, and the focus, for now, is on near-term projects to build up to the eventual goal.

City Manager John M. Pinkerton said the next five years will be focused on partnering with private developers to build the first set of residential units along the St. Lawrence, adding new docks for boaters and expanding the Maple City Trail.

Mr. Pinkerton said the idea is to to expand the market within the city and increase the tourist traffic.

“We do not want to cannibalize existing business,” Mr. Pinkerton said, “We want to increase it.”

Ms. Smith said the city could become a tourist destination.

“What’s good for tourists is good for residents,” she said.

Ms. Smith said the city doesn’t yet have an idea of how much the next step of the redevelopment project – preparing the sites for active use – may cost, but that the city will have a better idea as the report is finalized toward the end of the year.

More information about the redevelopment process can be found online at www.ogdensburgwaterfront.com.

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