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Massena Post Office flagpole getting a facelift


MASSENA — The flagpole at the U.S. Post Office here is getting a facelift as part of the downtown revitalization effort.

“It was brought to our attention that it needed to be done. It’s long overdue,” said Joseph Cortese, a Massena electrician and member of the Downtown Coalition who could be found last week with Wesley S. Bovay scraping away at the long-standing paint on the pole.

Mr. Cortese said that based on conversations with post office employees, he believes it’s been more than 30 years since the pole, which stands 45 to 50 feet tall, had been refurbished.

“I believe it went up in 1934, when the building went up. It’s probably 80 years old. It’s in pretty tough shape. It’s weather-beaten,” he said.

He and Mr. Bovay have spent part of their time at ground level, sometimes lying on their sides and scraping away at the base of the pole.

When it’s time to scrape up higher, they have the use of a lift provided by village Department of Public Works Superintendent Hassan A. Fayad.

Local contractor Vance T. Fleury has offered them another lift to get up to the area where the village’s lift won’t reach. That, Mr. Cortese said, will send them 60 feet into the air. “It’s on a job right now. It will be available this weekend,” he said.

Mr. Fayad and Mr. Fleury aren’t the only folks providing assistance ,either.

“We had a lot of materials donated,” Mr. Cortese said.

Even with the materials and equipment donated, it’s a slow process to restore the flagpole, he said.

“Probably a week,” Mr. Cortese said of the projected timeline to finish the work. “I’ve got to get it done when I can. It’s very slow.”

It’s also a painstaking process, chipping away piece by piece. He estimated there were about 34 coats of paint on the flagpole to remove.

“We’ll take it right back down as close as we can get to the metal,” he said. “It’s a little project, but it needs to be done. We’ll bring back the original green. We’ll get it down to the base green.”

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