Mini-golf developer offers harsh words for city, says he will not submit new proposal

Posted 2/27/24

OGDENSBURG – Developer Nick Wright said Tuesday that he will no longer pursue plans to bring Mystic Springs to the City of Ogdensburg.

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Mini-golf developer offers harsh words for city, says he will not submit new proposal


OGDENSBURG – Developer Nick Wright said Tuesday that he will no longer pursue plans to bring Mystic Springs to the City of Ogdensburg.

On Monday, city council agreed to extend the Request for Proposal process for the development of 17 Main Street parcel A to allow Wright to file a proper proposal since his response did not meet the requirements.

For months the city has been working to unload both parcels A and B at 17 Main Street two different developers.

Unfortunately, both developers say they need both parcels to move forward with their projects.

The developers are Wright who wanted to bring Mystic Springs miniature golf course to the city and Chris Frary who wants to put storage facilities on the property as part of a larger development plan which includes turning the former Ramada Inn into a Wyndham Hotel.

For its part the city council has been at a bit of disadvantage in making either deal come to fruition due to a proposal that was accepted by the city two years ago but never acted on.

That deal was to allow Chris Frary to purchase parcel B, but it never happened. 

Mayor Michael Tooley says that’s due to failure on the city’s part to reach out and follow through, now he says the city is honoring that agreement and has given Frary until May 31 to meet requirements and close the sale.

As for parcel A, the city sought RFPs for development there. Both Frary and Wright submitted responses, but on Monday city council discussed the matter in executive session and emerged to say the timeline for submissions would be extended.

No golf course

Wright offered harsh words about the city council in a Tuesday interview in which he confirmed he would no longer pursue the project.

“I'd rather chew crushed glass than give another second of my time or another ounce of my energy to the city manager and the city council,” he said.

Wright said that it’s a sad day for Ogdensburg, which deserves the project.

“The people of the North Country deserve nothing but the best, but what these bureaucrats and politicians do to the community is just sad. It’s the people up here that are truly losing out today,” he said. “I really wanted to make this happen, but what I’ve been met with is silence and red tape. The city council, the mayor and the staff were dragging me along. The people of the city need to ask why this happened.”

He also issued a letter to the people of Ogdensburg outlining his perception of the situation.

“When I approached the City staff and politicians in November of 2023 regarding Mystic Springs Adventure Golf, never in a million years did I think this is how the process would play out in a municipality in desperate need of economic development. Remember this project was self financed and shovel ready, a perfect piece of city owned land was available and I had specialty builders ready to build this summer - all I wanted was some professional conduct from the city- to which there was none,” an excerpt from the letter says.

“Since Mayor Tooley, Interim City Manager Smith and the City Council tonight read a letter publicly insinuating that I was not competent enough to submit an RFP properly following the RFP submission process it is now only fair that the taxpayers see for themselves why I sent a 4-page letter instead of an RFP to begin with. If this entire function of City Hall continues on the current path, sadly Ogdensburg will continue its decline. I highly encourage the taxpayers of Ogdensburg to start paying attention and taking action in your city's affairs. You are sitting on an absolute gem of a landmass that is waiting to be the next great thing. You have to start coming forward and making change if you truly want it. In my 22-year career developing attractions and entertainment all over the world I can assure you that you have what it takes in location to hit home runs, you just need bold leadership to get it done.”

The letter can be read in full here.

Mayor’s Response

In response, Tooley maintains that the city wanted the project to succeed and was hopeful that a proposal would be submitted.

He said the deadline was extended to ensure RFPs that met all the requirements could be submitted.

“In our statement, the city council explained to the public that the RFP process required a response as per its instructions and that Mr. Wright’s letter of interest was not in a format that city council would work with. It did not infer that Mr. Wright was not competent to submit an RFP properly rather that his letter of interest was the format that he chose in making a reply.

We offered additional time to Mr. Wright to submit a response as per instructions in the RFP and we encouraged him to do so.”

Tooley then referred to the statement issued following executive session Monday.

“In our view initial responses to an RFP typically do not address every aspect of the proposed project that is reviewed by staff and city council. The initial response sets the stage for further discussion with the developer whose proposal is selected.”

Over the past two months Tooley and his fellow councilors have maintained that the city was doing its best to juggle the matter and consulted the city attorney as part of the process involved in the decision making.

RFP’s for 17 Main Street parcel A will be accepted until March 5.