OGDENSBURG — The city of Ogdensburg has been awarded more than $340,000 in state funds to complete an engineering report and to conduct environmental site assessments on its contaminated Brownfield sites.
The North Country Regional Economic Development Council earlier this week announced the 11th round of grants to municipalities as part of the state’s Consolidated Funding Application process.
Ogdensburg was awarded $50,000 in state Community Development Block Grant funds to complete a preliminary engineering report to evaluate design alternatives to fully reconstruct East David Street.
“That project is a project that has been on the city’s radar for quite some time in terms of needing a full reconstruction, similar to the scope of the Paterson Street reconstruction,” city Planning and Development Director Andrea Smith said. “Obviously it’s a much shorter street, but we know it needs that level of investment.”
Getting a preliminary engineering report has been a “heavy lift” for the city to date, according to Ms. Smith. The report will allow the city to accurately plan and finance the reconstruction of the street.
“It’s an important street — it’s small in terms of linear feet, but it’s an important connector street for the elementary school, getting traffic off of connector streets and onto the larger arterial streets like Paterson Street,” Ms. Smith said. “And it will give us an opportunity to upgrade the water and sewer capacity and separate stormwater.”
A local match of $3,000 will be required.
The second amount of funding is much larger at $293,291 from the New York Department of State. This funding would allow the city to conduct environmental site assessments on its priority Brownfield sites within its designated Brownfield Opportunity Area — a former industrial or commercial site where future use is affected by environmental contamination.
Since a large number of the city’s waterfront properties are contaminated, the site assessments will allow the city to identify the extent of contamination to help determine future uses for the Brownfields.
“This is really great news for Ogdensburg. It comes at just the right time,” Ms. Smith said. “We are in a position to foreclose on the Kiwanis property, which isn’t great news — foreclosing on any property is not great news — but it’s a property that the community has recognized as having contamination, also a catalytic property in terms of recognizing and realizing the community vision for redevelopment.”
She added that the city is hoping to use the funding for the assessment work as part of a larger effort to clean up the Kiwanis property and the former cheese plant at 30 Main St.
The former dairy manufacturing plant was last operated by TooBro Cheese Company from April of 2009 until it closed in 2011. TooBro Cheese Company had leased the property from the city after it took ownership of it in 2008 by tax foreclosure. The city has had problems finding interested contractors in removing and disposing of hazardous and non-hazardous materials from the facility.
“We anticipate that we will use a pretty significant amount of this money on that property so we can get our arms around what the environmental issues are at that property so it, too, can be repurposed and revitalized to again help the city realize our vision of redevelopment,” Ms. Smith said.