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Ogdensburg gets the ball rolling on retirement community development

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OGDENSBURG — A retirement community on the shore of the St. Lawrence River may be coming to Ogdensburg as the city solicits proposals from developers.

The city is looking for financially sound developers who are able to build and maintain the project on their own on the city-owned Diamond/Shade Roller District site.

City Director of Planning and Development Andrea L. Smith said the project is the result of a market study conducted in 2012 with help from Vita Nuova, a Newtown, Conn., based company specializing in community redevelopment.

“We did a pretty thorough review, not only of the demographics within the city, but within the region,” Ms. Smith said. “There is a huge demand for retirees who are looking to downsize. We feel as though this is a great location on the shores of the St. Lawrence River that people who are currently living here might be interested in.”

Ms. Smith said the location would be ideal for retirees and empty-nesters who want to move back to the city or who are looking to save money on housing so they can more comfortably split their time between Ogdensburg in the summer and a winter home elsewhere.

Ms. Smith said the city is not looking for a nursing home, but an 80-unit, three-acre, active senior living community.

The plans would consist of one to two-bedroom apartments designed specifically for people in the 55+ age range.

The city isn’t putting any money into the project directly, Ms. Smith said, but will be partnering with the National Development Council to secure tax credits for developers.

City Manager John M. Pinkerton said he hopes the project will draw developers to the area.

“What we’ve got to do, I think, is to try to find that initial hook that gets us started,” he said at last week’s City Council meeting. “There is a need and an interest in this type of development. I think it’s a good spot for that. It only takes a small portion of the land that we have up there. It’s our anchor spot.”

Not everyone on council likes the idea, however.

“I just don’t support the idea of senior living up there, that’s all,” Councilor Michael D. Morley said. “I just had more of an idea of using it for recreational water front.”

Mr. Pinkerton said there is plenty of other city-owned, waterfront land to develop other businesses.

Proposals are due by 3 p.m. on April 15. More information is online at www.ogdensburg.org.

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