The Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) received a request from the New York State Office of Mental Health to partially demolish the Letchworth Building Complex at the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center in Ogdensburg. This decision comes after much advocacy from Sen. Patty Ritchie during her tenure and continued by Assemblyman Scott Gray (R-Watertown), who each called for the demolition and cleanup of the buildings. In February, Assemblyman Gray sent letters to Commissioner Hope Knight and Commissioner Jeanette M. Moy.
“Today’s news that DASNY will begin demolition of the Letchworth Building Complex, otherwise known as the St. Lawrence Psychiatric Center, is a win for Ogdensburg, St. Lawrence County, and the North Country as a whole. Abandoned since 1988, these buildings have deteriorated into not only an eyesore but a public safety hazard as well,” Gray said.
“The demolition is a turning point for Ogdensburg, which is burdened by unassessed property that, in turn, is shifted onto the taxpayers of Ogdensburg. My bill, A.5276, would allow the city a payment in lieu of tax on the vacant state property, but all along the main goal was demolition. Hopefully, this is a first step to return this land to its productive potential.”
“The demolition of the Psychiatric Center is a much-needed first step in the development of abandoned properties. I applaud the New York State Office of Mental Health for approving this necessary demolition, and I commend the City of Ogdensburg PILOT Task Force, the governor, for recognizing this important issue, and Senator Patty Ritchie for her tireless effort, and I will continue to advocate on behalf of the residents while in Albany,” Gray concluded.