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Rail spur at Massena Industrial Park near bidding process

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MASSENA — A proposed rail spur that would connect Massena’s industrial park to the CSX rail line that runs through the village is coming closer to reality.

Thomas G. Sullivan, executive director of the Business Development Corporation for a Greater Massena, said he expects the bidding process for the project to begin within the next month, with construction to start this spring.

“We’re hoping to have a completed rail by next fall,” he said. “We’re over the hump, and we’re moving forward.”

BDC board President Larry Ralston said he’s confident that once the spur is built it will mean good things for Massena and its industrial park.

“I’m certain we’ll see an increase in jobs if that comes to fruition,” he told members of the village board on Tuesday.

Mayor James F. Hidy said he’s been assured by CSX that the project will begin soon and that the rail spur will be done at the same time as a 2-mile bypass to be built in the village that will allow slower trains to pull off the main tracks so faster trains can continue through the village.

Mr. Sullivan said the BDC has received nearly enough grants to cover Phase I of the rail project, which has an estimated price tag of $942,000.

Phase I of the project, he said, would connect the industrial park to the railroad, while a proposed Phase II would loop the rail spur through the entire industrial park, including several vacant properties, in an effort to make those parcels more marketable.

Mr. Sullivan said a price tag for Phase II hasn’t yet been determined.

The BDC, though, is in possession of $50,000, courtesy of gaming compact funds, that he said will be used to get started on fundraising for Phase II.

While there was some initial belief that there would be a local share for Phase I, Mr. Sullivan said, that does not appear to the be the case.

“Phase I is paid for,” he said, noting it would be paid for through a series of grants, and with the assistance of a bridge loan from the River Valley Redevelopment Association.

Mr. Sullivan explained that a bridge loan for $250,000 was provided to the BDC to pay for expenses associated with the project that must be paid upfront. The loan will be paid back when reimbursable grant funds from the state Department of Transportation, Empire State Development Corp. and Northern Border Regional Commission are received.

Mr. Sullivan said the BDC has received a $65,000 grant from the RVRDA for engineering expenses, a $209,000 grant from the Empire State Development Corp., a $318,600 grant from the state Department of Transportation and a $123,500 grant from the Northern Border Regional Commission.

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