OGDENSBURG – The Greater Ogdensburg Chamber of Commerce is taking a serious look at an idea to move their offices from Bridge Plaza to the Dobisky Visitor’s Center.
Chamber Executive Director Sandy Porter presented the idea to the chamber board at a recent meeting, after City Manager John Pinkerton suggested it to her.
The chamber would move into space now used as a boater’s lounge, which would be enlarged to allow enough room for an office and some storage space.
The large brochure racks would be placed in the lobby for easy access by tourists, Porter said. New and better signs would be placed at the entrances to the city showing that tourist information, the marina district, and walking trails, for instance, can all be found by turning off the highway and entering the city.
Porter, in minutes of the board’s meeting, said the city is checking to be sure they can offer this space since the visitor’s center was built with grant support.
The board discussed some of the pros and cons of making such a move.
There is an annual lease of $9,441.72 for their current space with the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority. OBPA gives the chamber a $5,000 stipend each year, and the chamber has a tenant sharing their current space who pays $3,600 a year, which brings down the chamber net annual rent to $842. There is more than adequate storage at OBPA now, and tourism traffic has increased by 700%, according to the minutes.
If they move to the Dobisky Center, off of the south end of Riverside Drive, rent would be free, or almost free, from the city, and the city has promised to address storage issues.
If they move, the chamber would likely want to keep some tourist information, especially their Travel Guides and New York State maps at the OBPA.
The board also discussed what was called the “identity crisis” the Dobisky Visitor’s Center has since some people refer to it as the Community Center others as the Rec. Center, others, the Dobisky Center, and still others, the Visitor’s Center. They discussed how to get people to settle on one name. The chamber prefers the Dobisky Visitor’s Center.
Porter said in the minutes that the consensus was that having the chamber at a very visible city facility would give Ogdensburg a better opportunity to present its assets, such as the marina, parks, walking trail, the pool, and the Historical Downtown highlights, and might even cause local businesses to grow along the business corridors.