Kayak tournaments could be next big draw for Massena

Jan. 14—MASSENA — Could kayak tournaments be the next big thing for Massena?

Town of Massena Tourism Director Donald R. Meissner says he thinks so.

He told the Massena Town Board that an organization involved with kayak rentals was looking at Massena as a possible destination.

"I always wondered why all of a sudden are these organizations looking at Massena. It's because of all the work that we've done over the years to bring attention to this as the place where things happen," Mr. Meissner said.

He said kayak tournaments were starting to spring up around the country, including in Wisconsin.

"They have told me that kayak tournaments are becoming one of the big tourism growth things in the country right now," he said.

Mr. Meissner said introducing kayak races to the Massena area would be an opportunity to use the town's rivers, such as the Grasse and Raquette, to their fullest advantage.

"The possibility of having these people come and establish programs and have kayaks available, we can now start to develop some of our other waters that have a tremendous potential. So, this is fabulous," he said. "I've been trying to talk back and forth with these people, but I think that if we can get them to look closer at Massena, this will grow everything that we're trying to do."

The village of Massena has also been focusing on the Grasse River with its funding from the state's $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative.

Eight of Massena's Downtown Revitalization Initiative-funded projects were given the green light from state officials,

The village will turn the former Massena School of Business site into hardscape courtyard/transitional space with a mezzanine that connects the downtown corridor with the riverwalk areas, while preserving the historic School of Business facade.

Another $1,715,000 will go to the downtown riverwalk project.

Village officials want to build a scenic walkway along portions of the Grasse River and what the governor's office described as "formalization" of the kayak launch behind the Massena Fire Department, in coordination with current landowners.