Monday, July 28, 2014

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Mohawk Valley

Ogdensburg gets a facelift

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Ogdensburg gets a facelift
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What may seem like a rundown city is now headed in a different direction. Ogdensburg leaders say there are multiple plans in place to change their city for the better. Through their local waterfront revitalization projects, as well as housing and main street revitalizations, our Cara Thomas says Ogdensburg is getting a facelift from the inside out.

OGDENSBURG, N.Y. -- As the only city in St. Lawrence County, Ogdensburg has a reputation to uphold. But over time, the small city has begun to deteriorate, homes have foreclosed and businesses collapsed. But new construction throughout the city gives hope to the North Country that Ogdensburg will return to its full potential.

Ogdensburg's Planning and Development Office Director, Andrea Smith, said, "These projects that we're working on, these plan initiatives that we're so fortunate to have are really looking at the long-term vision for the city."

Renovations are occurring on the city's main streets to improve the aesthetics of local businesses. Old industrial sites have been demolished and remediated. And unsafe homes are being repaired. But the city's main focus is its new involvement with the waterfront.

Smith said, "Now we're really focusing on reconnecting our citizenry with the waterfront and really focusing on public access and creating a waterfront that is more inviting and more of an economic stimulus and driver for this city."

City officials aren't the only ones who want to see Ogdensburg become a more beautiful place to live. Local clubs and groups have the same goal in mind while just helping at a smaller level.

Ann Groome of the Ogdensburg Gardening Club said, "I taught in Ogdensburg for 35 years and so the city means a lot to me and after I retired, it was something to do. I love gardening."

Community members say they enjoy using their talents and hobbies to improve the city. Groome says planting gardens is one example of a small but impactful way to show pride for her hometown.

Groome said, "It's just a nice way to say, 'this is our city.'"

"Definitely there are things that other groups are working on, small scale projects that really do help contribute to the large vision," said Smith.

A vision that Andrea Smith says is shaped by the needs and ideas of the community. And she says now that many of their polluted sites have been cleaned up, they are ready to take the community's contributions and run with them.

Smith says these the revitalization of Ogdensburg will not be a short process. But she says over the next few years, and even as early as this summer, the changes will be apparent in Ogdensburg.

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