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Wed., Sep. 2
Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York

Paterson Street reconstruction moves forward despite hurdles


After clearing a number of hurdles, the Paterson Street project appears to be on its home stretch.

Despite delays, alterations and a swelling price tag, the reconstruction remains on track.

“We’re looking at a December or January bid,” said Kit W. Smith, director of Ogdensburg’s Department of Public Works. “It has been four years in the making, not bad for a public project.”

The reconstruction, which would widen the street, replace underground sewer, gas and water lines, build new sidewalks and drainage, replant trees and move utility poles back from the right of way, will cost around $10 million, said Mr. Smith.

“Originally, when we started, the project was estimated around $8 million,” he said.

At its Monday meeting, the City Council approved $45,000 in additional funding for engineering work and the purchase of rights of way for the reconstruction, bringing the total cost to $950,000. Ogdensburg will pay $47,500 of that cost, with the rest covered by state funds.

Just two weeks ago, the council acted to ensure the project was not downsized or eliminated by the state Department of Transportation by passing a resolution asserting support for the project as it was originally proposed. Interim City Manager Philip A. Cosmo asked for the vote in response to state cost-cutting measures.

“There is some discussion and some reviews, not only on this project, to see if these projects should be downsized,” he said.

Mr. Smith was a strong voice for keeping the expensive utility work in the reconstruction’s scope.

“There are portions of our project that they wanted to downsize,” he said. “We want full reconstruction because of the aging infrastructure.”

The state did cut nearly $800,000 in work from the project, but the core of the work remains, said Michael R. Flick, Region 7 spokesperson.

“By and large the project will go off as planned and previously noted,” he said. “Parking will be retained through the residential section. The on-street parking through the commercial section may be reviewed. Any changes should be minor in terms of scope.”

Councilman Daniel E. Skamperle advocated expanding the project’s scope.

“Can we take a look at putting all the utilities underground?” He asked. “A lot of people are not happy with the aesthetics of Ford Street, with the utility poles leaning over. I’d really like to push it a little bit more.”

Mr. Smith explained aesthetics, like landscaping and tree planting, will be included in the reconstruction.

Burying utility poles would add to the cost of the project and require redoing the engineering work, potentially pushing the construction back further, he said.

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