Officials from Ogdensburg, Albany tour psych center land soon to be transferred to the city
Thursday, June 5, 2014 - 5:42 pm

Pictured touring St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center land to be returned to the city of Ogdensburg, from left are state Asst. Corrections Commissioner Thomas Corcoran, Ogdensburg City Planner Andrea Smith, Ogdensburg City manager John Pinkerton,counsel for the state Office of Mental Health John Reisinger, Mayor Bill Nelson and Senator Patty Ritchie.

OGDENSBURG -- State Sen. Patty Ritchie, Ogdensburg city and St. Lawrence County officials on Thursday toured a 45-acre parcel at the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center that is at the center of a plan to transform the unused property for economic development.

Representatives from the state Mental Health, General Services and Economic Development agencies were included in the tour, which also featured a presentation by Ogdensburg’s city manager and city planner of about a proposal for the unused land. It available to the city through special legislation in the state budget.

“The North Country has an opportunity to turn an underused eyesore, including vacant, long-abandoned buildings and unneeded surplus land, into an asset that can be used to help create jobs and revitalize our region’s economy,” Ritchie said.

The land is on state Route 37, close to the international Ogdensburg-Prescott Bridge. It is one of four psych center parcels that the state previously identified as surplus, and under Senator Ritchie’s plan, would be immediately available to developers once the final transfer from state to city control is complete.

In addition to discussing the 45-acre parcel, the leaders also considered how to develop other unused land at the psych center. They also considered the future of an onsite energy plant, waterfront parcels and the need for new housing at the site for facility staff.

“Today’s tour gave city and other local representatives a chance to make our case to the state agencies about this very well designed plan, win their support, and hopefully speed the transfer of this property so that we can get North Country residents to work building out future,” Ritchie said.

Ritchie represents the 48th Senate district. It includes Ogdensburg, canton, Gouverneur, Oswegatchie, Waddington, Lisbon, Madrid, Louisville, DeKalb, DePeyster, Hermon, Edwards, Fowler, Rossie, Macomb, Morristown and Hammond.