OGDENSBURG, N.Y. (WWNY) - The Ogdensburg Bridge & Port Authority is used to doing big things: handling ships, huge cargos, runways and planes, an international bridge. Now it wants to do something else big: childcare.
“Why not make it easier for people to keep their job and not worry so much about daycare for their kids,” said OBPA Chairman Sam Burns.
The authority would like to build a childcare center in its Commerce Park. There are more than 1,000 people working in the immediate area.
The idea came out of a childcare forum hosted by U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand last year in Ogdensburg.
“This fits into what we’re trying to do: make it easier for people to work in the area in addition to attracting maybe additional firms,” said Burns.
The area’s only other sizable childcare centers are in Canton and Potsdam. Surveys show there are 6 children needing childcare for every one open slot.
The Bridge & Port Authority says it will take at least two to three years to get a childcare center up and running. It wants to win grant funding to build the center.
The OBPA most likely would hire a private operator to run it. It’s been an education for the authority.
“It’s a major issue. We found that out just recently talking to people about this whole idea,” said Burns.
Demand for childcare is expected to swell in coming months as the COVID-19 pandemic abates and employment grows.