Community Fighting Proposal To Close Ogdensburg Correctional Facility

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Debra Perry is worried the closure of the Ogdensburg Correctional Facility could be the knockout punch for her convenience store and bottle redemption business.

The sour economy has already forced her to cut her workforce in half and with about one-third of her business coming from corrections officers, she's afraid for the future.

"We're struggling just to stay open at this point," she said.

Local officials say it will take a concerted, hard-fought bi-partisan effort if there is even a glimmer of hope of keeping the Ogdensburg Correctional Facility open and saving the 287 jobs at the prison.

While there are worries that the unified support for the prison will fall on deaf ears in Albany, there is also optimism that the local strategy and all out assault against the proposed prison closure will sway lawmakers - convincing them to look elsewhere to cut costs.
 
More than 3,000 people have already signed an online petition to save the prison, the smaller of Ogdensburg's two medium security prisons which is on the governor's hit list to be closed in April 2011 as part of the state's budget reduction plan.

County Clerk Patty Ritchie hopes to generate as much support for the prison as a similar online protest against the state's now abandoned new license plate plan.
 
"We can't withstand the prison closing and another 300 people out of jobs so we all have to work together...and hopefully in the end the governor will hear and do the right thing," she said. 
 
A special task force has also been organized to help convince Albany officials to keep the prison operating because of the jobs it provides and it's economic impact to the area:
 
"We're having our first meeting this Thursday at 5 p.m.," said Ogdensburg Mayor Bill Nelson.
 
Those wanting to show their support for the Ogdensburg prison are being asked to attend a town hall meeting with State Senator Darrel Aubertine and Assemblywoman Addie Jenne Russell at 10 a.m. Friday at the Quality of Working Life Building on Arnold - Wagner Road.

Meanwhile, Aubertine has posted a spot on his website where those opposed to the prison closure can register their concerns at aubertine.nysenate.gov.

Monday, November 24, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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