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Hammond looks to consultant to help attain scenic designation

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HAMMOND – The town council will hire a consultant to help establish different points in the Thousand Islands-St. Lawrence River region as Scenic Areas of Statewide Significance.

Town Supervisor Ronald W. Bertram said Friday he is working to put together a proposal to hire a consultant. He will ask the town council to approve the hiring at its next meeting Sept. 10.

Hammond, the lead agency on the project, shoulders the responsibility of hiring a consultant which will work with 10 municipalities to designate the areas of cultural, architectural and natural significance.

“We don’t know exactly how we’re going about that yet,” Mr. Bertram said. “It is going up to the consultant to give us some direction on where to go.”

Scenic Areas of Statewide Significance are designated by the state Department of State’s Office of Communities and Waterfronts. According to the program’s guidelines, an unlimited number of areas can be designated up to three miles inland from the coastal boundary.

The need for a consultant will be advertised and a candidate selected much like a bid process, Mr. Bertram said.

“The firm will be chosen based on their price and what they intend to do for us,” he said. “We are on schedule and hope to have the person hired by the first of next year.”

The cost of the consultant is yet to be determined, Mr. Bertram said.

Mr. Bertram said he and his committee received a $75,000 matching grant from the North Country Regional Economic Development Council that will go toward the logistics of the application. The grant will be split by 10 municipalities to fund in-kind research that will be included in the SASS application packet, Mr. Bertram said.

The town of Hammond will seek help with the application from the villages and towns of Morristown, the village of Alexandria Bay and town of Alexandria, the town and village of Clayton, the town and village of Cape Vincent, and the town of Orleans.

Almost every municipality has expressed interest in joining an advisory group that will help secure the designation, Mr. Bertram said.

“Morristown is expected to pass a resolution to support the project,” Mr. Bertram said. “We are still waiting, but we know once the project gets off the ground, we’ll see a lot more participation.”

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