OGDENSBURG -- Special state grant funding of $200,000 delivered by state Sen. Patty Ritchie (R-Heuvelton) is expected to help initiate the funding quest to dredge the Port of Ogdensburg for the first time in 30 years.
“The future of Ogdensburg’s deep water port is at risk from 30 years of silt buildup that makes docking more difficult, dangerous and costly,” said Ritchie, whose district includes the western half of St. Lawrence County including Ogdensburg, Canton and Gouverneur.
“This funding helps kickstart the dredging project, protects jobs and adds to the port’s potential to increase shipping and work opportunities,” Ritchie said.
It was last dredged in 1984, and the rising river bottom from accumulated silt could stall recently expanded efforts to attract new business, and create more local jobs, the statement from Ritchie’s office said.
“Dredging Ogdensburg’s harbor is vital to our efforts to bring new ships, new jobs and new business to the North Country,” said Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority Chair Sam LaMacchia.
“We appreciate Senator Ritchie’s efforts to help keep the Port of Ogdensburg a vital link in our region’s economic development efforts and transportation system,” said OBPA Executive Director Wade Davis.
It’s estimated that dredging will remove 74,000 cubic yards of silt—enough to fill more than 4,000 typical dump trucks, or about 700,000 wheelbarrows.
The Army Corps of Engineers has been studying the dredging project and is expected to make its recommendations shortly. It is expected that the bulk of the dredging costs will be covered by the Corps.
There was no estimate in the press release of what the total bill for the work might be.
In addition to jobs created by the dredging and silt removal project, the port supports 70 jobs and pumps more than $5 million into the local economy each year, the release said.