By CRAIG FREILICH
MASSENA -- Meetings are set next week to talk about revitalizing downtown in general and about making the most of a $250,000 NY Main Street grant.
“We’re inviting anyone with any interest in improving downtown,” said Business Development Corporation for a Greater Massena Executive Director Michael Almasian.
“You don’t have to be a building owner. We want people with strong backs to pick up garbage and strong minds to share ideas.”
The grant will be devoted to building “interiors, facades, exteriors, signage, maybe a new door,” to improve the look of downtown.
The first of two meetings, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 12 in Town Hall, is for general information about the grant and basic information about projects to consider, such as making better use of both banks of the Grasse River with a “riverwalk.”
“We don’t have the money for a whole project like that, but it’s a start,” Almasian said.
“Massena has never made the best use of the river. I’m not picking on Massena. Many of the villages here date from a time when the backs of buildings were to the river and the river was a place to dump waste. So we’ll be highlighting ways to take advantage this resource.”
The second meeting, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 13, also at Town Hall, will be “more of a nitty-gritty work session,” Almasian said, including setting up a theater committee, a historic committee, a parking committee, and a code revision committee.
“We want to get as many people there as we can.
“There’s a lot of quiet energy out there. It’s like static electricity from a rug. You walk on the rug and touch a doorknob and you know it’s there. If we really want to get something done, we have the energy,” Almasian said.