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Massena approves bonding to repair town hall

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MASSENA — Town officials have decided to move ahead with approximately $350,000 in renovations to the Town Hall’s facade, front steps and parking lot.

In a special meeting Wednesday afternoon, Supervisor Joseph D. Gray, Councilman John F. Macaulay and Councilman Albert N. Nicola unanimously approved resolutions to borrow $185,000 for improvements to the building’s facade and front steps and $168,000 for improvements to the parking lot. Mr. Gray said he held the impromptu meeting in order to pass the resolutions quickly and move ahead with the work, which he would like finished this year.

“We wanted to do it as soon as possible, rather than wait until the Town Council meeting. We thought we’d like to get the ball rolling today,” Mr. Gray said.

Councilmen Charles A. Raiti and Robert Cunningham were not available at the time of the meeting.

The Town Hall’s facade and front steps are crumbling, and the parking lot has potholes and water drainage problems, Mr. Gray said.

“The mortar is failing. You have chunks of mortar falling off the building. No one’s been hit yet, thankfully,” Mr. Gray said previously. “Obviously we need serious repairs to the front of the town hall.”

Mr. Gray said low interest rates make it favorable to finance through bonds now rather than hold off on the work, which will be funded partially through $150,000 from the St. Lawrence River Valley Redevelopment Agency. That money will be split into a $75,000 grant for the work and a $75,000 low-interest loan to the town, Mr. Gray said.

At next week’s meeting, the Town Council will discuss its options to either renovate or replace a Highway Department barn that has structural problems, according to Mr. Gray.

Extensive renovations are needed, “everything from mechanicals to roofing to asbestos abatement and huge aesthetics improvements,” Mr. Gray said previously.

In February, the Town Council voted unanimously to seek bids for the town hall and highway barn projects as well as for construction of a new hangar at the Massena International Airport.

Previous estimates put the highway barn project at $1.87 million, a cost some council members felt was more than the town could reasonably afford.

“I just can’t see us spending $1.8 million to revitalize that building,” Mr. Cunningham said previously.

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