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Sen. Ritchie secures funding to dredge Ogdensburg Port

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OGDENSBURG — A dredging project needed to improve shipping at the Port of Ogdensburg has scooped up a $200,000 state grant.

Because of a buildup of silt along the city port’s 1,200-foot dock, freighters have to deliver their cargo piecemeal, according to Wade A. Davis, executive director of the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority.

Ultimately, the project will decrease drop-off times for cargo, Mr. Davis said.

“This is a key project that will create jobs at the port for the long term,” he said.

State Sen. Patricia A. Ritchie, R-Heuvelton, secured the $200,000 in state grant funding for the dredging project, her office announced Wednesday.

“It makes the port much more competitive as a result for bulk commodities — whether it is for agriculture or salt for municipalities,” Mr. Davis said.

Decreasing channel depth forces freighters to carry lighter loads, increasing shipping costs.

Mr. Davis said the dredging project could result in an increase in the number of ships using the city’s port, but he declined to speculate by how many.

In addition to jobs created by the dredging and silt removal project, the port itself supports 70 jobs and contributes an estimated $5 million to the local economy each year.

The city’s port was last dredged in 1984, and the rising river bottom from accumulated silt endangers the OBPA’s recently expanded efforts to attract new businesses and create more local jobs.

“Dredging Ogdensburg’s harbor is vital to our efforts to bring new ships, new jobs and new business to the north country,” OBPA Board of Directors Chairman Samuel J. LaMacchia.

The Army Corps of Engineers and OBPA in 2013 signed a cost-sharing agreement for a study examining the feasibility of the dredging project. The Corps of Engineers is expected to make its recommendations soon.

It is expected that the bulk of the dredging costs will be covered by the Corps of Engineers.

OBPA officials said last year that, when completed, the dredging will allow two ships to dock simultaneously at the port.

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