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Massena Historic Preservation Committee meets with SHPO regarding buildings in town


MASSENA - Buildings that have long been a part of Massena history may be entering an exclusive group in the future, after recent discussions between the Massena Historic Preservation Committee and the state’s Historic Preservation Office (SHPO).

Business Development Corporation (BDC) for a Greater Massena Vice President Larry Ralston informed the board of the meetings that have taken place with SHPO.

“The goal of this committee is to pinpoint buildings within Massena that are qualified to be recognized as a historic building and be found in both the state and the national registry. Why is this important? Because there are financial incentives for renovations of these buildings,” Mr. Ralston explained.

“We met to develop a strategy on how this was going to be accomplished and R. Shawn Gray was appointed the task of contacting Mr. (William) Krattinger, who is with the state Historic Preservation Office, because he is key to our success in obtaining this goal.

“Once we had the date when he was going to be here, Ken (C. Cornell) had us put together a targeted four buildings downtown. The theater, Hugh’s Barbershop, Cyberworld, and Phil and Jackie’s Gift Shop. We put together a package for Mr. Krattinger showing pictures of the buildings, both current pictures and we went back into the archives and found basically original pictures.”

Mr. Cornell is the chairman of the Massena Historic Preservation Committee that holds meetings twice per month.

Sally Yeddo is a committee member who Mr. Ralston explained has looked into the historical aspects of the different buildings.

“We also had some of the committee members do research on the architectural aspects of those buildings. We put this together in a binder and we met with Mr. Krattinger (Thursday). We had a two-hour meeting with him that included a walkabout downtown,” Mr. Ralston said.

“Bottom line in this, I was very pleased. We had an excellent meeting. He seemed to accept a lot of the strategies that we had put together ,and he said he would be working with us and he would be talking with the folks down in Albany, to his peers and to his superiors letting them know what is going on here. He would be glad and would provide guidance as we make our way through this,” he noted.

“So it was very worthwhile and right now I am very excited about our prospects of getting this done.”

BDC Executive Director Thomas Sullivan noted that he is encouraged by the recent meetings, particularly since the state agency had turned down similar requests from the committee in the past.

“You know Kenny (Cornell), he doesn’t take no for an answer. He dug in and reopened the discussions, and, as Larry said, it was quite positive,” Mr. Sullivan said. “I think once (Mr. Krattinger) started walking around the community, he started getting a better feel of what was really here and identified possibly expanding the area, not to make it so limited. Also they identified certain buildings that could be done just on an individual basis.”

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