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Springs Park upgrades approved

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MASSENA — The village board has agreed to be lead agency in the environmental review of Alcoa’s plan to add docks and other amenities at Springs Park.

As part of a consent decree settlement for natural resource damage to the St. Lawrence River and its tributaries caused by pollutants from Massena’s industrial plants, Alcoa agreed to make several million dollars’ worth of improvements to accessing the Grasse and Raquette rivers in the Massena and Louisville area.

In March, St. Regis Mohawk Tribe officials and state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced they had reached a $19.4 million settlement with Alcoa and the former Reynolds Metals Co. for the damage caused by contaminants released by the aluminum manufacturers’ Massena operations since the 1950s.

Mayor James F. Hidy talked about the planned upgrades at Springs Park with enthusiasm.

“Alcoa will incorporate some docks, some parking facilities, as well as picnic tables. What’s really good about this project actually is, for about a year now, I’ve been involved in the Raquette River blue water redevelopment program that starts way up there. It hits every town coming down through, starting in just about Colton. Colton’s a member, you’re looking at Norwood-Norfolk. So Massena is one of those places where we really don’t have to reinvent the wheel, it’s going to be done for us. So we thank Alcoa for that,” Mr. Hidy said.

As part of the settlement, Alcoa will spend approximately $2 million to construct and upgrade five fishing access ramps, including the Springs Park project.

Based on a promotional flier outlining the project, the site will be handicapped accessible and will include educational signage, a concrete boat ramp, an 8-foot-by-8-foot elevated wooden deck and a floating boat pier.

Department of Public Works Superintendent Hassan A. Fayad said the village, as lead agency on the state environmental quality review, will declare the improvements will not negatively impact the environment.

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