Political Profile: Ogdensburg Mayoral Race

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On the campaign trail, Mayor Bill Nelson can tell voters about three terms worth of accomplishments. 

From the new community center to cleanup of the Diamond National site and the Lake Street Bridge, Nelson says the city is developing its number one asset - its waterfront.

"That is going to be the future where our tax base is going to grow," said Nelson.

Nelson says one of his biggest accomplishments is something that didn't happen - the closing of the prison in Ogdensburg.

"And I led the charge to keep Ogdensburg Correctional Facility open and we were successful," he said.

Regardless of the mayor's track record, there's one issue that has dominated the campaign the last several months - 819 Knox Street.

While Nelson believes he has acted decisively on the scandal surrounding the city-owned property, the matter remains unresolved.

"I don't want people to think about my terms of mayor and think of 819 Knox Street as that pinnacle because that's not it," said Nelson.

But challenger Jack McGrath says it shows that city government is broken.

"It's been blown out of proportion for the wrong reasons and I believe the people of Ogdensburg are the losers here," said McGrath.

The retired business executive says Ogdensburg needs new energy.

"I believe that we're in a status quo right now and that we just need to wake the city," said McGrath.

He said waterfront redevelopment is too slow.

"The development of activity for Diamond National, the shade roller and the waterfront have taken far too long and as a result, we continue to be viewed as a poverty stricken area," said McGrath.

Is Ogdensburg a city on the rise or one in decline? 

That could be a pivotal question in voters minds when they go to the polls on Tuesday.

Thursday, November 20, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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