After debate, Ogdensburg to solicit RFPs for 17 Main St. property

·4 min read

Sep. 17—OGDENSBURG — The City of Ogdensburg will use a Request for Proposal (RFP) format to solicit bids for the city-owned parcel at 17 Main St. in an effort to spur development of the property.

A resolution to hold a public auction for 17 Main St., with a minimum sale price of $10,000, failed at Monday night's city council meeting with Councilor John Rishe being the lone vote for the process.

The city council debated the procedure to sell the parcel of land following a letter written by Ogdensburg resident and businessman William Hosmer who advocated for the RFP process to avoid someone from purchasing the property at a tax auction and then sitting on the property. He, along with fellow investors, are interested in the property to build a brewery that, if they would be able to purchase, could begin construction next spring.

RFPs would allow the city to see plans for the property before selecting who would be able to purchase it.

Rishe would much rather use a public auction because it doesn't allow favoritism to leak into the decision-making process and he would much rather "let the free market decide" who gets the property.

"That's why I think the best process is the one in the code and state law," said Rishe.

City Manager Stephen Jellie said that a public auction was recommended because it was "fair to all parties" and that it would keep the city from having to make a difficult decision if multiple RFPs were submitted.

Councilor William Dillabough was vocal about supporting the RFP process saying that he didn't want someone to purchase the property at auction and then sit on it with no development.

"We want people to build here," said Dillabough.

Councilor Daniel Skamperly agreed.

"I want to see the property protected," said Skamperle, "I don't want to see somebody buy it and sit on it."

Since the motion to sell it at public auction failed and 17 Main St. is listed as one of the Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) listed properties such as the former Diamond National site, the city will move forward with soliciting RFPs for the parcel like its any other BOA property.

In other business discussed Monday:

—Jellie said that a total of $18,000 was spent on the building of the city beach which ultimately did not open this summer, due to some readings that were high for E. coli that most likely came from geese.

"I wish we could have been able to cut the ribbon," he said, adding that the work at the Ogdensburg Bridge & Authority (OBPA) grounds "created a vision for what the city could look forward to in the future."

The city will continue to collect water samples at the site for the Department of Health.

—Mayor Jeffrey M. Skelly read a proclamation declaring Sept. 17-23 as "Constitution Week 2021."

The proclamation reads, "Whereas, September 13, 2021 marks the two hundred and thirty fourth anniversary of the drafting of the Constitution of the United States of America by the Constitutional Convention; and Whereas, it is fitting and proper to officially recognize this magnificent document and the anniversary of its creation; and Whereas, Public Law 915 guarantees the issuing of a proclamation each year by the President of the United States of America designating September 17 through 23 as Constitution Week."

The proclamation was sponsored by the Swe-Kat-si Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution.

—An ordinance was approved to amend the official city map to dissolve a portion of paper Cherry Street generally described as being 60 feet in width and 690 feet in length between Lake Street and the Maple City Trail.

—Loretta Cooke was appointed to a five-year term on the Ogdensburg Public Library Board of Trustees, term to begin Sept. 13 and expire on Dec. 31, 2025. Her appointment was voted unanimously.

—City council reviewed several possible locations of the skate park and agreed that it should be in the Greenbelt area or possibly in the back parking lot of the Ogdensburg Mall. No decisions were made Monday night, but the city will solicit opinions from the public on a location through an online survey that will be developed by Recreation Director Mackenzie Cole in the near future.

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