Ogdensburg officials look to buy vacant land to resell

WWNY Ogdensburg officials look to buy vacant land to resell

OGDENSBURG, N.Y. (WWNY) - Top Ogdensburg officials want to put hundreds of acres of vacant land back on tax rolls. They have their eye on land owned by the psychiatric center and Bridge & Port Authority.

A sign welcomes you to Ogdensburg. So do nearby buildings that are falling to ruin. The city wants to take care of that problem by buying the land from the state.

“We want it in private ownership and we want it on the tax rolls and we think by doing that we can spur economic development,” said John Rishe, Ogdensburg deputy mayor.

Rishe wants the city to buy and resell hundreds of acres of vacant state land. Much of that land is owned by the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center and the Ogdensburg Bridge & Port Authority. Much is on the riverfront.

“The sky is the limit. It could be housing, tourism related businesses, restaurants, marinas - whatever people want to develop,” said Rishe.

Rishe presented his draft plan at Monday night’s council meeting. Top city officials are buying in.

“We have one of the most majestic, and most world-renowned rivers -- really in the world -- the St. Lawrence River, running through the city of Ogdensburg and we also have lots of available land,” said Stephen Jellie, Ogdensburg city manager.

The Bridge & Port Authority said it would not have any comment Tuesday. It has tried to market a limited number of parcels itself.

The situation with the dilapidated buildings isn’t hopeless. State Senator Patty Ritchie has obtained a grant so the city can buy a plot of state land.

The $300,000 grant would pay for the city to buy and clear the psychiatric center parcel fronting Route 37. It could then be put up for sale.

“We would like to use that as the catalyst going forward for other vacant properties,” said Jellie.

Rishe wants to put forward a motion at the next city council meeting to adopt the plan in draft form. It would then go to city planning for review as well as public hearings.

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