Canton town and village boards supporting acquisition of former M.R. Bell service station property
Monday, July 31, 2017 - 12:17 pm

By ADAM ATKINSON

CANTON – The village and town boards here have expressed interest in acquiring the former M.R. Bell service station property on Riverside Drive for future redevelopment.

The two boards held a special meeting with the St. Lawrence County Attorney Stephen Button Friday, July 28, to discuss the possibilities of taking over the property.

The lot has been foreclosed on and has a $25,000 lien placed on it by New York State.

Prior to the property going to public auction, the municipalities have an option to acquire the property for redevelopment purposes, said Village Mayor Mike Dalton in an email.

Town Supervisor David Button said in an email that the property “may dovetail very nicely with some of the waterfront revitalization that is taking place along Riverside Drive.”

Both the supervisor and mayor said the state comptroller may opt to waive the lien on the property if the lot can be redeveloped by the municipalities.

Button said the town board plans to consult with their attorney and draft a letter supporting the move to acquire the former service station property.

“The town supports this initiative because it strengthens the town's waterfront development initiatives along Riverside Drive. One blighted property in the neighborhood has the potential to undermine the development that we are trying to affect, so taking control of the old service station and doing something there to remove the blight will help all of the properties in that neighborhood,” Button said.

Dalton said the village also supports acquiring the property.

“The village will write a letter to the county stating our interest in acquiring M.R. Bell's if negotiations with the NYS Comptroller's office are successful. This is a complicated situation and all parties need to be protected before anything is committed to,” Dalton said.

Dalton said drafting letters in support of the municipalities taking over ownership is the first step in allowing those negotiations to proceed.

“This is just the beginning of a process that will take some time,” said the mayor.