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Ogdensburg Growth Fund hopes to partner with City Council on retirement community project

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OGDENSBURG — The Ogdensburg Growth Fund Development Corp. unanimously approved a one-year memorandum of understanding with the city that will allow the two organizations to move forward with a joint effort to bring a developer to the city-owned Diamond/Shade Roller District site.

The City Council will review the memorandum at its Monday meeting.

The city is in the process of finding a developer to build an active senior living facility on the shore of the St. Lawrence River at the abandoned industrial site.

City officials hope it will be the first of many projects to transform Ogdensburg into a thriving riverside community.

Expressions of interest in the project from developers are due on Tuesday.

The memorandum of understanding would allow the Growth Fund to partner with the city in contracting with Vita Nuova, Newtown, Conn., a company specializing in community redevelopment, to form a redevelopment plan, said Chairman William D. Nelson, also the city’s mayor.

“They have the expertise,” Mr. Nelson said of Vita Nuova, which has been working with the city for the past several years to set a vision for the future of waterfront redevelopment.

The Growth Fund has set aside about $10,000 in this year’s budget for the project.

The memorandum of understanding is not legally binding, but the stated goal of the document is to allow the two organizations to work together “in as effective a manner as possible.”

Mr. Nelson said the memorandum of understanding helps solidify a working relationship between the Growth Fund and the city.

“We’re a partner walking hand in hand, together, side by side, on this project,” he said. “We are the economic development arm of the city.”

Another plus, Mr. Nelson said, is that this relationship gives the city additional resources for the project without dipping into city coffers.

“The city doesn’t have to expend taxpayer money. Now we’re spending our funds which were garnered through economic development and loans,” he said.

Under the terms of the memorandum of understanding, the Growth Fund also will help the city review developer submissions for the project, negotiate with developers and make recommendations on the final selection.

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