OBPA seeking $954K for child care facility; board member encouraged by governor’s address


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Jan. 13—OGDENSBURG — Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority officials will seek $954,000 from Empire State Development through the North Country Regional Economic Development Council toward building a new child care facility.

One of the OBPA board members says the governor’s child care announcement as part of the 2023 State of the State could mean good news for their project.

With an estimated completion date of late in 2024, the center will be located in the OBPA industrial park and open to the public. OBPA will build and own it. The ARC of Jefferson-St. Lawrence will operate it, when ready to open.

During Thursday evening’s OBPA Board of Directors meeting, Chairman Vernon “Sam” D. Burns said the total cost is estimated around $4.5 million and they still need about $2.4 million.

“I’m hoping from our representatives at all levels of government, we’ll obtain that amount of money and get this built. In my opinion, it’s long overdue,” he said at the meeting.

In Gov. Kathleen C. Hochul’s 2023 State of the State speech on Tuesday, she announced a plan to expand access to child care, streamline the application process, help families pay for child care and adopt a business income tax credit for child care statewide. Part of that includes working with the Regional Economic Development Councils to find new child care options.

“Governor Hochul will establish a Business Navigator program in each of the 10 Regional Economic Development Council regions to help interested businesses identify options to support employees’ child care needs, and will also develop a statewide employer child care guidebook, making good on another one of the State task force’s recommendations,” Gov. Hochul’s office said in an announcement.

OBPA board member Toni A. Kennedy, who is part of the OBPA’s child care committee, says she’s encouraged by the news.

“I think it’s very exciting. I’m really excited. I think we’re going to resume our meetings and hopefully get the ball rolling,” she told the board.

OBPA Executive Director Steven J. Lawrence said they’ve applied for the REDC grant twice, and were turned down. He says they’ve taken steps to make a stronger application and understanding the process.

“We’ve spent quite a bit of time getting debriefed and understanding what needs to happen to make our application stronger this time,” he said. “When it came to getting all the finances in place, that’s something we don’t have as much control over.”


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