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Ogdensburg Growth Fund moves forward with sale of downtown parking lot

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The Ogdensburg Growth Fund Development Corp. is moving forward with the planned sale of a parking lot in downtown Ogdensburg, and unanimously voted Wednesday in favor of getting the lot reappraised.

The lot, located at 420 Ford St. with entrances on both Ford and Caroline streets, is currently appraised at $22,000. Growth Fund Chairman William D. Nelson said board members have no idea if that figure is an accurate portrait of how much the property is actually worth.

Administrative Director Andrea L. Smith said the Growth Fund has received three letters of interest from people who want to purchase all or part of the lot. City Council voted down a proposal to purchase the lot for use as a public parking lot last month.

So far the Center for Sight, Dillingham, Jones and Cissel Insurance Agency owner Edward J. Dillingham and Phillips Diner owners Don P. and Judy A. Ashley have expressed an interest in the property, Ms. Smith said.

Mr. Dillingham was in attendance at Wednesday’s meeting and said he is disappointed by the city’s decision not to take over the lot.

“There are so many people accessing it,” he said, noting that the lot is frequented not only by people employed at businesses in the building he owns at the corner of Ford and Caroline streets, but by people coming in and out of City Hall, the Center for Sight, Phillips Diner, Planned Parenthood and other neighboring agencies.

“It services more than six businesses downtown,” Mr. Dillingham said.

Although he is interested in buying the property to protect his tenants’ access to parking spaces, Mr. Dillingham said he is worried about the cost of maintaining it and the logistics of policing it.

Mr. Dillingham said he will be in touch with the other people who are interested in purchasing the property to see if some deal can be worked out.

Mr. Nelson said he was also in favor of having the city take over control of the property, but was out-voted by city councilors who didn’t see an overwhelming public interest.

Mr. Nelson said that over the coming weeks the Growth Fund will determine the best way to sell the property.

The fund currently pays roughly $1,000 in property taxes on the lot, Mr. Nelson said.

“It’s not a huge amount of money,” he said, but added that because it isn’t advancing the goals of the Growth Fund, the expense is a drag on its budget.

Growth Fund member John M. Pinkerton said that this year, thanks to the new relationship between the fund and the city, the fund will be responsible for snow removal and upkeep on the lot that was previously done by the city.

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