Posted on September 19, 2022
City Manager Stephen P. Jellie remains hopeful that the city beach will be able to open next summer despite several failed attempts.
The city leased the beach from the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority in 2021, paying $3,000 to lease the property. According to a report Mr. Jellie gave in September 2021, the city spent a total of $18,000 to clean it up, prepare it and open it in 2020, but the opening never happened due to high readings for E. coli.
The beach failed to open again this summer after the state health department denied the city’s application, the reason being high levels of fecal matter.
The beach, south of the Ogdensburg-Prescott International Bridge, closed in 1994 when the city opened the Elsa M. Luksich Municipal Pool.
On Monday night, Mr. Jellie gave an update on the beach to the City Council. He plans to give his recommendation on the project as part of the 2023 budget presentation.
“Our numbers were significantly better than last year, in fact the only high numbers we had were post that storm that we had,” Mr. Jellie said. “Ultimately the health department would like us to further define what causes that number to go up.”
Mr. Jellie said the levels may be increasing because of downflow from the St. Lawrence River, a discharge pipe, the sewage treatment plant, and a drain pipe that drains from the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center.
“I don’t think this has been a bad project from the get go,” Mr. Jellie said. “The beach was closed for any number of acute reasons and then some long-term reasons. I think now with two years of testing and preparation we understand a lot more of what they’re looking for.”
During the 2023 budget report, Mr. Jellie will be presenting how much money the city has spent on the beach and he estimates the city will need to invest in the beach to open it.
“I still think it’s a good project, I don’t know if we have a better alternative in the city that’s going to be less work or less up-front cost,” Mr. Jellie said. “We’re not the only beach that’s down the river from the sewage plant. We’re not the only beach with issues of too many geese. So I just think it’s a matter of understanding.”