Massena’s Aluminum Trail Project faces uncertain future
Wednesday, August 20, 2014 - 11:46 am

By ANDY GARDNER

MASSENA -- The Aluminum Trail project, which would rebuild the footbridge between Liberty Avenue and East Orvis Street and spruce up the adjoining park, is stalled for lack of funds and is facing an uncertain future.

Public Works Superintendent Hassan Fayad said the village is about $900,000 shy of the roughly $2 million price tag.

Mayor James Hidy said he is talking with Sen. Joe Griffo about getting the remainder from Albany, but they haven’t gotten anywhere.

“We’re in a holding pattern,” Hidy said. “The clock is ticking.”

He added that the Local Government Task Force is trying to persuade the New York Power Authority to cover the extra cost as part of the ongoing 10-year review negotiations for their license to operate the St. Lawrence-Roosevelt Power Project.

“They just gave $1 million for a walking trail for an island we can’t get to,” Hidy said.

He is referring to the $934,000 contract that NYPA awarded within the last month to build a 2.5-mile walking trail on Nichols Island in Louisville.

The last estimate village officials discussed was close to $1.7 million. But Fayad said on Tuesday that an extra $293,000 got tacked on because the state is forcing the village to hire an engineer and inspector, rather than doing it in-house.

The project is partially funded by federal Transportation Enhancement Program funds, to the tune of $1,153,800. The program provides 80 percent funding, and that figure is 80 percent of the initial estimate when the project was proposed roughly seven years ago.

If it goes forward, the village will be on the hook for the extra $1 million.

If it doesn’t go forward, Massena will owe the federal government close to $300,000, which is what they have paid out thus far. It financed 80 percent of the engineering cost.