Thursday, May 31, 2018

Assemblywoman Jenne talks waterfront improvements with Ogdensburg city officials

Assemblywoman Addie A.E. Jenne, D-Theresa, met with city officials in Ogdensburg this week to get an update on the city's flood recovery efforts, as well as to learn more about their vision for the future of the waterfront.

Assemblywoman Jenne has been visiting with officials from the lake to the locks - Lake Ontario to Eisenhower and Snell Locks - in the River District to learn more about efforts underway in the communities to improve and better utilize the region's natural resources.

She has also been talking with local officials about the steps that can be taken to enhance the maritime economy in the region in areas ranging from infrastructure improvements to workforce development in order to maintain and increase employment in the maritime industry.

"I wanted to sit down with the city officials to get a better understanding of the funding they are expecting to receive to make repairs to infrastructure that was damaged during the flooding last spring and summer. I was in the city last spring when water levels were at the peak and also had an opportunity to see some of the damage at as those levels started to drop last year," Assemblywoman Jenne said.

"But I also wanted to talk about the assets they felt they needed to improve the waterfront infrastructure to aid the region's economic development efforts. I shared my willingness to bring state tax dollars back to the North Country for that work," she stressed.

Local leaders have been working with state and federal officials to secure funding for infrastructure damaged by last year's flooding. FEMA funding will help the city recover the costs of infrastructure repairs.

The Ogdensburg City Council voted in April to borrow a maximum of $4.3 million for work on the seawall, boardwalk and other infrastructure damaged by the flooding.

City officials anticipate approximately 90 percent of the work will be funded by state and federal dollars allocated for flood recovery efforts.

Assemblywoman Jenne noted she also discussed proposals that had been discussed in a boating infrastructure grant awarded to the city in 2011.

That plan, announced by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in March 2011, called for $501,311 in federal funding to add a new fueling station, as well as berthing for 32-45 transient recreational boats on the St. Lawrence River. The funding was allocated through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) program.

The city later rejected the grant, which would have required they provide $176,141 matching funds for the marina improvements.

Assemblywoman Jenne said she felt the work proposed in that grant would help bring more tourists and businesses to the city.


Ogdensburg City Councillor Jennifer Stephenson showed Assemblywoman Jenne damage to the city's boardwalk during a July 2017 stop in the city. Local officials reported studies have also shown significant erosion in the waterfront area on the shores of the St. Lawrence River.