By JIMMY LAWTON
MASSENA – The Massena Town Board hopes to complete two renovations projects at the town hall, totaling more than $350,000, before winter hits.
Town Supervisor Joseph Gray said the board unanimously approved a resolution Wednesday to borrow about $350,000 to complete renovations to the façade, stairs and parking lot at the town hall.
“We will hold a pre-construction meeting to decide where to start,” he said.
The town board was able to offset some of the project cost after a $150,000 grant/loan was awarded from St. Lawrence River Valley Redevelopment Association’s community development fund.
The River Agency will provide the town with a $75,000 grant as well as a $75,000 loan.
Gray said the town would have moved ahead without the help of the River Agency, but the grant and loan will be a big savings for taxpayers.
“It’s a huge help,” he said. “It will enable us to save a lot of money. Whatever we borrow we have to pay back and our only revenue source is taxes. This allows us to borrow less money and borrow some of it at a very low interest rate.”
Gray said extensive interior renovation was completed 12 years ago, along with some cosmetic improvements to one exterior wall, but the front façade of the town hall was secure and intact at that time. Since then, the façade has deteriorated and pieces of mortar have started breaking loose and falling to the ground.
He said the town plans to repair and restore the façade and replace the front steps and check-walls to eliminate safety hazards caused by the deterioration.
“These repairs aren’t just cosmetic. Pieces of mortar have begun falling off and the steps have been compromised for some time,” he said.
Gray said he hopes both projects are completed in the coming construction cycle.
“We need to get going, because there really isn’t that much time,” he said.
Gray said the board is also eying a third project, which would either renovate or rebuild the town garage. Gray said he hopes that project will begin before for the fall.
The town hall also houses the Massena Police Department and the town and village courts. According to a project description, provided by St. Lawrence County IDA Director Patrick Kelly, the building was constructed in 1903.