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Ogdensburg Growth Fund and DANC consider cost of home rehabilitation

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The Ogdensburg Growth Fund Development Corporation is working with the Development Authority of the North Country to determine how much it will cost to rehabilitate a city-owned home at 611 Rensselaer Ave.

The home was taken over by the city of Ogdensburg in 2012 for delinquent taxes. The Growth Fund is considering buying it from the city, fixing it and selling it to help build up the tax base.

On Monday morning representatives from the Growth Fund and DANC toured the home to get a better idea of what the project will entail.

Growth Fund Administrative Director Andrea L. Smith, who also serves as the city’s director of Planning and Development, said DANC is in the process of putting together an engineering plan for the home and a cost estimate for the project.

The contract between the Growth Fund and DANC is for $3,000, Ms. Smith said.

The goal would be “to bring the home up to code but also up to first-time home buyer standards,” Ms. Smith said.

If the Growth Fund doesn’t buy the property, Ms. Smith said, the city would be forced to either demolish the home – a process that could cost $40,000 – or sell it at a public auction with no guarantee that it can be repaired.

Further complicating any potential sale of the property is that the lot, which is 160 feet deep and roughly 55 feet wide, does not conform to the city’s set-back rules, Ms. Smith said.

Because of the city’s zoning laws for single-family homes, Ms. Smith said, it’s unlikely that the city would find someone to build there again if they are forced to adhere to the strict set-back requirements.

But, Ms. Smith said, “I think the house is worth saving.”

Brian K. Tulip, project engineer with the Development Authority, said he expects the Growth Fund could rehabilitate the home for less than $60,000.

In order to fix up the home to meet code, contractors would need to move an upstairs bathroom to provide direct access to one of the home’s three bedrooms, add a wall near the entrance to secure the structure and install a full bathroom with laundry hook-ups downstairs.

Final engineering specifications will be drawn up in the coming weeks, Mr. Tulip said, but he acknowledged that it would be a big project.

“It’s a huge rehab,” he said.

The basic structure of the home is intact, Mr. Tulip said, with the wiring, heating and plumbing systems all in relatively good working condition.

“The basement is probably one of the best in Ogdensburg,” he said.

Ogdensburg Code Enforcement Officer Gregg A. Mallette said the nearly 100-year old home could make a great home for a first-time buyer.

“The goal is to put a quality house back on the tax rolls,” Mr. Mallette said, “and improve the neighborhood.”

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