OGDENSBURG – Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority Executive Director Wade Davis sees his first three years in that post as a success.
Now with a new employment contract in hand, one of his priorities is attracting a $100 million manufacturing facility to one of two parcels managed by the authority.
Davis got a vote of confidence from the OBPA board of directors last Wednesday when they reappointed him with a new three-year contract, at $108,790 a year, good through March 2016.
“We are here to manage facilities and create jobs,” Davis said. “One of the main things we want to do is get unused parcels developed and back on the tax rolls.”
The authority has produced an “in-depth promotional piece which is a compelling document sharing why it make sense to locate a $100 million production facility in the North Country,” generating 50 or more manufacturing jobs. The piece is going to be sent to hundreds of potential developers.
“For 50 well paying jobs here, we would be able to offer $10 million in incentives” to a company that would set itself up in Ogdensburg. Grants and other incentives would show “there’s enhanced profit that can be made here, better than the New York State average, with proximity to the Canadian market.”
Davis said that the site for such a venture could be either the Port of Ogdensburg Industrial Park, at the foot of the Ogdensburg-Prescott Bridge, or the Port of Ogdensburg Heavy Industrial Park, on Wagner Road across from the county transfer station. “It could be at either park,” David said.
He said that an expansion of operations at the port on the St. Lawrence Seaway could build on a “continuing trend there to tie in to agricultural business.”
Over the last few years, agricultural business at the port has gone from “zero to 35,000 tons of product” – primarily livestock feed – “that are going to North Country farmers at lower cost” due to the advantages at the port.
“That increases our relevance and decreases their costs,” Davis said.
“The feed business continues to grow even through the economic recession. Rail is one of the most economical ways to ship product, and we’re trying to expand on that. We’re using rail and trucks now, and we anticipate more ships” using the port, he said.
In the last few years the OBPA has invested over $6 million in railroad infrastructure and $23 million in the first phase of rehabilitation of the international bridge to Prescott, Ont.
He also points to investments to increase the capacity of the port access road and to improve facilities at the Ogdensburg Airport, with establishment of a “stable air service” through Cape Air passenger flights.
Meanwhile, he says there has been “some growth and some setbacks in the industrial park,” but the trend is toward growth in small business utilization.