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Sullivan delivers good news on downtown restoration efforts

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MASSENA - Massena Business Development Corporation (BDC) Executive Director Thomas Sullivan delivered some good news to village board members Tuesday night regarding the efforts to restore Massena’s downtown.

Mr. Sullivan first spoke of the efforts to restore the village’s vacant Schine Theater, noting that the transfer of ownership from a private owner to the non-profit LLC group, which has been formed to oversee the restoration should be completed by the end of the week.

“That will make it much easier for them to get grants,” Mr. Sullivan said, explaining grant funding for privately owned properties is somewhat limited.

Mr. Sullivan also said that work on several other downtown properties will get started this spring courtesy of $250,000 in grant money from the state’s Main Street Grant program.

Mr. Sullivan said that 10 projects in Massena’s downtown have been submitted to the State Historic Preservation Office for approval.

“Of the 10 that have been sent in, nine have received clearance from SHPO,” he said, adding that property owners should now be soliciting bids for their projects form a pre-approved list of contractors.

The BDC will then review those bids before sending them on to SHPO for final approval.

Once that approval is granted, Mr. Sullivan said property owners will award contracts and construction can begin, with some projects likely getting started this spring.

Mr. Sullivan said the business owners must first pay for the work out of their own pocket, prior to being reimbursed with grant funding.

He said in the past the state has had problems with business owners accepting the money, but then not completing the work.

“This will eliminate that,” he said.

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