Ogdensburg Mall Attracts AttentionPosted: Updated:
People use the downtown Ogdensburg pedestrian mall as an example of 1960s-style urban renewal gone wrong. But now some things are going right there.
“It was a good fit for us to start developing some property and I think Ogdensburg is ready for it. I think it's ripe. I think the location right by the Canadian border – I don't think there's a better opportunity,” said George Ruddy, mall investor.
Ruddy recently bought the former AmVets building there. He says he already has strong interest from potential tenants. Across the street the front of the Department of Motor Vehicle offices will get a facelift.
“The downtown mall area has been and I think continues to really be the heart of downtown Ogdensburg...It still is what and where people think of as downtown Ogdensburg,” said Andrea Smith, city director of planning.
An Ogdensburg businessman is interested in re-opening the movie theater. But the biggest development will be the Community Health Center of the North Country opening in July.
“That's the type of facility that could generate real demand for uses people want to see in the downtown area,” said Smith.
Progress on a number of fronts has the city again thinking of competing for a Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant.
Ruddy said he has gotten good cooperation from city officials and he said that kind of cooperation is going to be necessary if the mall, and ultimately the city, are going to be revived.
The mall area still has plenty of parking. But some merchants feel Ford Street being one-way and narrowing to become an alley still holds it back.