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Village sells land to CSX for construction of bypass

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MASSENA — Two and a half months of behind-the-scenes negotiations came to a conclusion Tuesday night when the village board voted to sell a quarter of an acre of land to CSX Transportation Inc., for the construction of what Mayor James F. Hidy called a “bypass.”

The land, which the railroad bought for $3,250, is adjacent to property owned by the railroad off South Main Street. Mr. Hidy said the parcel is on the south side of the tracks across from the train depot on the former Department of Public Works buildng property.

Mr. Hidy said the village had been approached by CSX about the land several months ago.

“It’s been about a 2-month process with our legal team,” Mr. Hidy said.

Given the recent change in speed limit from 35 to 40 miles per hour, Mr. Hidy said, the railroad was hoping to build a 2-mile “bypass” that would allow slower trains to get off the main track so quicker trains could pass through.

As part of the agreement, which also came with a $100 payment for a temporary easement, Mr. Hidy said CSX will build the much talked about railroad spur to connect the main tracks to Massena’s industrial park.

“We had an agreement that if the village did this, they would step up and do the spur for the industrial park,” Mr. Hidy said.

While Trustee Francis J. Carvel voted in favor of the transaction, he did say he had a small problem with it.

“A big company comes in here and wants some land and we give it to them. Whatever they want to give us, that’s great,” he said, noting that’s not the approach the board has taken with private individuals looking to buy land from the village.

“The big boy gets what he wants, and the little guy has to suffer the consequences,” Mr. Carvel said, referring to an unnamed person who has approached the village in the past about purchasing land that, according to Mr. Carvel, the village had not used in 60 years.

“We pick and choose who we sell to,” he said.

When asked to specify the denied transaction to which he was referring, Mr. Carvel referred requests for additional comment to Mr. Hidy.

While Mr. Hidy said he was aware of what Mr. Carvel was talking about, he, too, declined to offer specifics, deferring comment back to Mr. Carvel.

Three years ago, village officials had rejected offers by Amvets Post 4 and businessman Charles McGrath to purchase a 6.3-acre site on Water Street that at one time had been designated as the home of the proposed Salvation Army Kroc Center, a plan that died because of a lack of long-term funding.

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