Massena village trustees approve agreements for infrastructure studies

May 23—MASSENA — The former Massena School of Business will get a new look under the state's Downtown Revitalization Initiative program. But, until then, village officials have taken a step to address the building's continued deterioration.

Trustees approved a resolution that authorizes a professional services agreement with Drew Architecture for a building structural analysis and report at 22-24 Main St.

"This would be $2,500 to have them take a look at the Massena School of Business building. It's deteriorating much more rapidly than we feared," Mayor Gregory M. Paquin said.

With the DRI funding, the village plans to turn the 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.

Jaclyn S. Hakes, from the consultant team for Massena's DRI program, M.J. Engineering and Land Surveying of Clifton Park, has previously said the goal is to preserve the facade, "maybe minus some of the plywood in the windows."

"That's the thought, that the historic facade is intended to be preserved and maintained so it can maintain that feel of a complete block as you are on Main Street, but open up into that courtyard area," Ms. Hakes said. "The project includes demolition of all but the facade so that the facade can be stabilized, and then the courtyard will be created as a result of that, allowing for that connection from the street over to the river into the public parking area."

During their meeting, trustees also approved a professional services agreement with LaBella Associates, D.P.C. for a Grasse River sewer shed evaluation. The $50,000 cost is covered by a 2022 New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation Engineering Planning Grant.

"The village of Massena was awarded $50,000 for the Grasse River sewer shed evaluation and another one for the wastewater treatment plant," Department of Public Works Superintendent Marty G. Miller said. "The Grasse River sewer shed is basically going to go from the plant down the Grasse River, and across the river up by the Main Street bridge."

He said LaBella Associates will evaluate whether the sewer line needs to be repaired or replaced.

"It will give us different options from the shape that it's in. Then, they will make recommendations and they will go after grant funding for us when they present that to the board," Mr. Miller said.

He said much of the information would be coming from the Department of Public Works.

"They'll probably have to do some smoke tests. We have the camera system that can go on and give them the video they need," he said. "But, it's going to be manholes, and probably the end result is going to be a lining. There's no way we're going to replace that 30-inch main going next to the Grasse River. You're probably looking at $15 to $20 million. So, I think once they find out what we have in there, a lining would probably be the proposed cure for that sewer."

Trustees also authorized an agreement with Wright-Pierce Engineering Consultants for a wastewater treatment plant facility plan. Mr. Miller said grant funding was also covering that study.

"It's an evaluation as to what's going to be needed for the upgrades. It's a lot more complex than just the Grasse River sewer shed. Obviously, with the wastewater treatment plan, there's a lot of moving parts, a lot of things that need to be looked at that are there now and that's gong to be needed there for the future. So, it's a little more dynamic," he said.