Ogdensburg scores $1.8 million grant to tear down former cheese plant
BY JIMMY LAWTON
North Country This Week
OGDENSBURG — One of Ogdensburg’s biggest eyesores will be coming down thanks to a $1.8 million Restore New York grant.
The dilapidated former Tubroburg Cheese plant will finally be coming down.The cheese plant has languished empty for years following unsuccessful lawsuits and attempts to fund demolition and cleanup of the site that resides in Ogdensburg’s Marina District.
The building has attracted vandals and has been considered a safety concern for some time.
Tearing down the buildings has been a sticking point for Ogdensburg Mayor Michael J. Skelly who said he was elated to hear the city had secured the grant.
“I went up yesterday and the new roof’s going up. Now we’re tearing down the cheese plant,” said Skelly.
“These are things that are very near to my heart. I was worried we wouldn’t get it done,” he said. “But Andrea Smith secured grants for the Hackett’s rehabilitation and the demolition of the cheese plant. It’s like a dream come true to have both of those projects moving ahead. It’s quite an accomplishment.”
City Planner Andrea Smith, who landed the grant for the city, said the award was critical for the city.
“This will free up an entire city block for the purpose of redevelopment,” she said. “It’s an impediment in the marina district. Moving this forward and removing the blight will make the area more attractive to potential developers."
“We had a bid that sounded too good to be true and it was,” she said.
Smith said that the work involved in preparing the requests for proposal did help improve the application and likely contributed to Ogdensburg securing the massive grant.
Smith said the city received the full amount it requested and has had similar successes with the Restore New York Grants in the past.
“Restore NY has been a really great program for Ogdensburg,” she said.
She said Ogdensburg was awarded grants in phases 2, 4, 5, 6, 7.
Those grants were used for demolition and rehabilitation projects of the former Newell Building, the former St. Joseph’s Nursing Home, the Shade Roller cleanup and the former Hackett’s Hardware rehab.
The grant should cover the cost of demolition as well as the associated cleanup and it could happen quickly if the council decides to move forward.
“It’s a bit early to just bring the wrecking balls down there. But I think we are at a point we are ready to move on this and we could put this out to bid really quickly,” Smith noted.
Smith said plans to demolish the building fell through after a bid was awarded last year, but the contractors had underestimated the cost of the job.