Ogdensburg Mayor: Bold new vision for a Regional Recreational Facility
While the Ogdensburg City government begins plans for the 2022 Annual Budget, Mayor Jeffrey M. Skelly will propose his vision for a new community “Regional Recreational Facility” that if completed would transform key sections of the city along the St. Lawrence and Oswegatchie Rivers into a hub of opportunity and activity for the youth of the city and region. “For far too long city residents traveled to Canton, Potsdam and Watertown for modern recreational facilities, and sadly, many parents cannot provide those opportunities for their youth – the city will act decisively to change this so all our youth in this region have access to world-class facilities”. Mr. Skelly said past city councils considered how to revitalize portions of the city, especially along the St. Lawrence and Oswegatchie rivers, but made little progress. The Mayor believes now is the time to act.
The keystone project of Mayor Skelly’s proposal: the design, construction and opening of a new large multi-purpose regional recreational facility that will be complete with indoor and outdoor sports equipment, a state-of-the-art concrete skateboard park, and outdoor picnic areas for public use. The Mayor’s proposal also calls for the complete overhaul of Morissette Park with improvements such as a new pavilion that will be the centerpiece of activity for family gatherings, a place to celebrate special events and the focal point for visitors arriving here by water. “A beautiful riverfront pavilion that can be used for outdoor music and food festivals and cultural events is just what is needed to invigorate our park”. The park would also see replacement of the aged playground equipment, tennis, pickleball and volleyballs courts and a larger horseshoe pit venue.
Mayor Skelly’s proposal will significantly expand the facilities available at the Lockwood Arena with a new outdoor skating rink, modernization of the current indoor skating facility and four new boat ramps near the twin bridges.
With City Council approval, Mayor Skelly will seek funding for the multi-million-dollar project through the state Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI), Federal and State Grants and investment of the City’ resources; the local share of the project would come from money saved through the ongoing restructuring of city government and consolidation of services. “The City must recognize that it can never return to the days of unbalanced spending that only fosters the deterioration of city infrastructure and the erosion of every other critical service essential to the youth and families of the community”. Public Safety is paramount, but it is not the only service that needs to be funded, staffed and equipped properly”.
Mr. Skelly will be formally making his pitch regarding his proposal to the full city council in the coming weeks and he intends to seek funding immediately for the City Planning Office to begin the design of these improvements and new facilities in 2022. “Talking about things for years doesn’t move the ball forward. I’m ready to take action and take it now.”