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Massena downtown revitalization effort moving forward

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MASSENA - Economic development officials are pleased to see progress on the efforts to revitalize downtown Massena after another meeting with their architectural consultant.

Daniel S. Pease, chair of the Business Development Corporation for a Greater Massena board, says the various initiatives to improve Massena’s downtown using $250,000 in state grants havr made “tremendous progress” following a meeting with the BDC’s architectural consultants Rick Hauser and Nicole Martin, of In. Site Architecture.

The funds, administered through the New York State Main Street Grant Program, aim to improve the village by creating a cohesive, attractive and historically preserved downtown corridor.

“What we got from the consultant was that things were coming together well with the downtown revitalization,” Mr. Pease said. “The committees continue to meet and they’re making tremendous progress.”

After meeting with Mr. Hauser and Ms. Martin in early March, six committees were formed, each tasked with a different role in how to improve Massena’s downtown. These committees are open to anyone in the community and will include a parking committee, a historic preservation committee, a code revision committee, a downtown theatre committee, a committee on forming a Main Street LLC and a committee for recruiting community members to take part in the revitalization effort.

“We have good reports from all the committees. We’ll continue to work with them, and we just continue to work for the goals of each committee as part of the revitalization effort,” Mr. Pease said.

During this week’s meetings, those committees met with Mr. Hauser to better outline their goals and strategies for reaching those goals. Mr. Hauser said the theater committee will be moving ahead on a fundraiser to help finance the renovations to Schine’s Theatre. Economic development officials acknowledge there’s a lot of work yet to be done, with renovation work estimated at $500,000 to $750,000 required before the theater could reopen for business.

Mayor James F. Hidy said he’s met with the parking committee, which has started to identify alternative parking locations in downtown Massena. “It’s very encouraging. People are pulling together. They’re enthusiastic, making good friends and it will be good for the community,” Mr. Hidy said.

During their visit, Ms. Martin met with property owners seeking to utilize portions of the grant to partially fund renovation work to their buildings. Property owners seeking to utilize these funds must follow a set of guidelines handed out by Mr. Hauser and Ms. Martin at the meeting in March. These guidelines include requirements for color, signage, materials, doors, windows and more.

Applications to utilize portions of the grant funds are due May 14.

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