Massena town officials reflect on 2022, look forward to 2023

Jan. 1—MASSENA — The town is touting several accomplishments in 2022 and has a lot to look forward to in 2023, according to Supervisor Susan J. Bellor and Deputy Supervisor Patrick M. Facteau.

"We've had some great anniversary celebrations this year, between Alcoa, Arconic, the library, and even the Seaway launching the visitor center opening and even at the Power Authority with the launch of Smart Path Connect, which has happened recently. So, lots going on this past year," Mrs. Bellor said.

There was also word that a hydrogen production company plans to invest about $500 million to build, own and operate a facility in Massena. The proposal by Air Products would create about 90 jobs, according to company officials, who announced their plan in October.

Gov. Kathleen C. Hochul announced in July that the New York Power Authority Board of Trustees awarded Air Products 94 megawatts of low-cost St. Lawrence hydropower — 84 megawatts of preservation power for 10 years and 10 megawatts of preservation power for three years. The 10-megawatt allocation could be extended or replaced with another hydropower resource that becomes available.

As part of the agreement, Air Products would commit to creating 90 new permanent, full-time jobs over the 10-year term of the hydropower allocations. The average annual compensation and benefits for the jobs are estimated at $90,000 per job.

"That's a very exciting thing that's going to happen. It's a brand new business basically for the country. There's not a lot of these factories around and we're going to be one of the first three or four that should be up and running and producing hydrogen, which is a very clean, clean fuel. It's a real positive for the state and for everybody up here," Mr. Facteau said.

Mrs. Bellor said another thing to look forward to is a revamped government website for the town and village of Massena, which is being done by Jason Hendricks.

"They're going to have a launch date of Jan. 26. So, they're doing a lot right now working on it to try to update it and make it more user-friendly. We're looking forward to that," she said.

She also noted that Linda McQuinn, the town's grant writer, has been successful in obtaining some grant funding for upcoming fishing tournaments in the summer.

"We're going to have a variety of fishing tournaments," Mrs. Bellor said.

Those are scheduled for July 28 to 30, Aug. 10 to 12, Sept. 9 and 10, Sept. 30, and culminate with the town's Big Bass Blowout on Oct. 7 and 8.

Town officials recently completed a successful budget preparation season, and she said they received good financial news — that they would again be receiving casino gaming compact funds "which we haven't had a in a few years. The board will have to decide which way to go with that considering we still have the pension we have to deal with," she said.

As the year winds down, they said goodbye to Councilor Thomas C. Miller, who did not seek another term, and Frank J. Diagostino, who has served as highway and building superintendent and airport manager at Massena International Airport. He announced his retirement earlier this year.

Mrs. Bellor applauded Mr. Miller for his work with the fishing tournaments and his ability to bring an army of volunteers to assist with them. She also thanked Mr. Diagostino for his 12 years with the town.

"We're going to miss him. Over 12 years he was highway superintendent, superintendent of buildings, all of it. He was always very good about coming in daily and giving me reports and updates on things that were happening," Mrs. Bellor said.

"I learned a lot in regards to my first year on the board. He's really good at planning, budgeting, understanding grants, getting the money that we need to get," Mr. Facteau said of Mr. Diagostino. "So he's certainly going to be missed, and I would like to personally thank Frank for all he's done."