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‘Love Massena’ features day of activities at Alcoa Field area

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MASSENA — Everything from music to food, face painting to balloon creations, and basketball to tennis takes place Saturday during the first-ever “Love Massena” event in the area around Alcoa Park.

The event is being coordinated by Compassion North in cooperation with the Greater Massena Ministerial Association.

Compassion North CEO Donald C. Curry said the event, which runs from noon to 3 p.m., is meant “to do something very positive” in an area that has seen crime ranging from an attempted abduction to drug trafficking.

“We want to take back our streets and remind people living in the neighborhoods surrounding Alcoa Park that Massena is a great place to live,” he said.

He said the group emailed Police Chief Timmy J. Currier with its idea, knowing the work that village police had done in the area to combat crime.

“We explained this to him. We met the next day and he said, ‘We’re behind you,’” Mr. Curry said.

Love Massena is being promoted through a number of venues, including news articles, a website and electronic billboards with the assistance of Real C. “Frenchie” Coupal and Paul Morrow. Mr. Curry said it’s been a community effort, with about 150 people assisting in the planning.

“The DPW (Department of Public Works) is closing up Cedar Street for us. Rich Boprey (recreation superintendent) has been very helpful. Really, the whole community has been very helpful,” Mr. Curry said.

The event is free for everyone. Among the planned activities are music from several bands, including one from Canada, and professional DJ music by Chase the Light Productions.

Also on tap are tennis and basketball clinics and games, children’s games, face painting, balloon-figure creation, clowns, kickball games and hot dogs, popcorn and snow cones provided by the Salvation Army.

The Greater Massena Ministerial Association will have a booth to hand out information about its upcoming Vacation Bible School at Emmanuel Congregational Church.

There also will be a “Lots for Tots,” which Mr. Curry said will offer lightly used children’s clothing for sale for $1. He said if someone can’t afford an item, it will be given to him.

Near “Lots for Tots” will be a backpack giveaway. He said the association provided principals at Jefferson, Madison and Nightengale elementary schools in Massena, as well as St. Lawrence Central, Brasher Falls, and Madrid-Waddington central schools, coupons for 10 free backpacks — filled with school supplies — to be given away.

Artist Marion Bradish will have a 24-foot mural that children can draw on.

“She did one for Canton and Canton was so pleased with it,” Mr. Curry said.”She stencils on images and kids paint it. She’ll oversee the painting. It’s a huge art collage creation that people can add to. It’s symbolic of your community.”

He said that although the event is scheduled to end at 3 p.m., it may go on longer depending on the level of activity taking place.

Compassion North, also known as the Northern New York Compassion Coalition, was formed for charitable and educational purposes to improve the quality of life for the many disadvantaged and under-resourced families in St. Lawrence County.

The group works with other agencies to help relieve ongoing as well as emergency situations involving food shortages, clothing needs, suffering resulting from insufficient home weatherization, short-term housing needs, crisis counseling and other related issues.

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