Check-in by boat at Ogdensburg customs not easy
Tuesday, August 17, 2010 - 9:48 am

Having spent many hours on the deck of the Dobisky Building (Ogdensburg’s new visitor center) I’ve noticed that the video phone does not usually work that well. Canadians trying to do their mandatory check-in find no answer when they access the phone. I’ve sent some tourists over to the customs building only to be told that “No one answered the bell and they are remodeling the building.” Some return to their boats and leave and others are just exasperated and I’m not sure what they do. It seems strange also that the federal government is exempt from handicap accessibility laws. The video phone is mounted quite high on the wall and many women are forced to stand on their toes to be viewed by the video camera. When I called this fact to the attention of one border patrol agent his reply was that you don’t usually see wheelchairs come off boats. There is a nice generalization. Does it seem strange that the customs building should be vacant at this time of the busy boating and tourist season? Couldn’t the remodeling have waited until the river is frozen and the boating season is over? I don’t believe Ogdensburg realizes the effort to promote tourism is being cramped by the incompetent system the feds have here. Maybe fewer border patrol cars are needed hiding behind bushes along routes 37 and 12. Why don’t we have a bored officer with his own desk at the visitor center instead of sitting in an idling SUV somewhere. The city could use the revenue generated by leasing out an office for that purpose.