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Waterfront consultants will come to Ogdensburg Monday

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For three days beginning Monday, potential waterfront development in Ogdensburg will be getting an up-close, personal and, hopefully, final review.

A group from the Connecticut-based Vita Nuova consulting firm will be in the city on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The purpose of the visit is to help gather information for the city’s ongoing Brownfields Opportunity Area study.

“They’ll be meeting with different groups of people,” said Planning and Development Director Andrea L. Smith.

Those different groups, according to Ms. Smith, include businesses, property owners and city officials. The BOA grant program, which is overseen by the state Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of State, was launched to help communities expedite environmental cleanups and reuse of polluted sites that are located in close proximity to each other.

The city has applied to the program for $1 million, which is the maximum amount available, to fund demolition and cleanup projects around the city, but with a special emphasis on the former Augsbury Oil Co. tank farm property on Riverside Avenue.

The city’s BOA zone is a 330-acre area that covers the St. Lawrence River shoreline between Park Street to the east and the former Diamond International site to the west. The Augsbury property is located in between, adjacent to the Greenbelt and closest to the easternmost boundary.

The Vita Nuova team will be seeking opinions on what uses are best and least practical for the BOA-potential sites once remediation is finished. They include commercial, recreational and residential.

“What’s feasible, what’s not feasible,” Ms. Smith said. “That sort of thing.”

City officials are confident that the Vita Nuova consultants are a good fit for the job because one of them has done it before, albeit on a much larger scale. Neil W. Pariser, a senior development consultant with the firm, was a senior vice president for the South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corp., a business lending agency like the Ogdensburg Growth Fund Development Corp. SoBRO currently oversees two BOAs in the Port Morris and Eastchester sections of the Bronx.

Mr. Pariser was here last fall to explain to the City Council a market analysis study that Vita Nuova conducted on Ogdensburg. That study’s conclusions included the opinion that multi-family housing is feasible on remediated Brownfields sites. Also, he said, that housing developers are interested in those sites. City Manager John M. Pinkerton wants the consultants’ visit here to be conclusive.

“What we want is a comprehensive waterfront development plan,” he said Friday.

Any business or property owners who wish to meet with the Vita Nuova officials while they are in Ogdensburg are asked to call the planning and development office at 393-7150 to set up an appointment.

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