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Ogdensburg City Council and Growth Fund plan meeting to discuss senior living development

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In order to better define their working relationship regarding the planned senior living development on the banks of the St. Lawrence River the Ogdensburg Growth Fund and Ogdensburg City Council will hold a collaborative meeting later this month.

The project specifications calls for an 80-unit, three-acre active senior living community built on part of the city-owned Diamond/Shade Roller District site.

In February the city sent out a request for developers to outline their vision for the project. The expression of interest is due by April 15.

But with the city’s contract with Vita Nuova, a Newtown, Conn., based company specializing in community redevelopment, coming to a close Growth Fund Administrative Director Andrea L. Smith, who also serves as the city’s director of Planning and Development, said the fund may be in a good position to help bolster the city’s efforts to see development at that location.

Specifically the Growth Fund has set aside roughly $10,000 to use this year to contract with an organization like Vita Nuova that has the connections and expertise to help guide the redevelopment of the Diamond/Shade Roller District site, Ms. Smith said.

Ms. Smith said Vita Nuova has a lot of experience working in communities like Ogdensburg with a lot of contaminated land that was formerly occupied by industrial operations.

“They also have a great depth of knowledge and staff that have experience in working with developers,” Ms. Smith said.

Growth Fund member and City Manager John M. Pinkerton said that in addition to everything else Vita Nuova has “connections and experience in putting together financial packages” like tax credit and grant funding applications that could be helpful while they try to bring the project to fruition.

Because the city acquired the Diamond/Shade Roller District site through a tax sale City Council has the authority to sell the property to a buyer whose development goals align with the city’s, Ms. Smith said.

Ms. Smith said that if the city and the Growth Fund end up working more closely on the project, the Growth Fund could be instrumental in finding the right developer for the job.

To that end the meeting between the city and Growth Fund later this month – a final date and time has not been set but it will be open to the public – will chiefly be about a memorandum of understanding that puts in writing the shared goals of the two organizations.

Ms. Smith said the memorandum will not be legally binding.

“It’s a working document,” she said. “It’s something for people to base their conversations on.”

Ms. Smith said the Growth Fund has been hesitant to contract with Vita Nuova until they sit down with City Council to discuss the project.

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