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OBPA eyes Psych Center land

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Following the City of Ogdensburg’s lead, the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority hopes to partner with state legislators to introduce legislation that would require the state to turn over surplus land within the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center Campus.

The property is adjacent to the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority Commerce Park. OBPA members have not yet outlined the number of acres they are looking to own.

The land could be conveyed through a no-cost, public agency land transfer, OPBA Executive Director Wade A. Davis said Wednesday.

The city and the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority are already working on an agreement to split surplus land owned by the state on the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center campus that is proposed to be turned over to the city. OBPA board members are looking to acquire 10 acres to expand its Commerce Park light industrial park while the city is seeking 160 acres to use for both commercial and residential development.

“The only thing we ask is that you consider putting it on the tax roll,” City Manager John M. Pinkerton said to the OPBA board Wednesday. “That’s all I ask because we have to move that $200,072,000 tax base up. The city needs to be better than it is economically. We need economic vitality.”

City Planning and Development Director Andrea L. Smith said this project would see the city’s amount of taxable property increase from 36 percent to 40 percent.

OBPA members said they would be open to putting the 10 acres on the tax roll.

State Sen. Patricia A. Ritchie, R-Heuvelton, and Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell, D-Theresa, are working to introduce legislation in the Senate and Assembly that would turn over land to the city.

“We’re very encouraged that both the senator and assemblywoman have put together legislation that mirrors one another and that will be put forward before the budget,” Mr. Pinkerton said.

OBPA board members said they would sign a resolution supporting the city’s efforts to secure the land on the Psych Center campus

“Whatever we can do to make that happen,” OBPA Vice Chairman Frederick J. Carter, Sr. said. “We need to support that as much as we can, we could see a lot of good things happen there.”

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