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Wed., Oct. 7
Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York
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No offers for Massena’s Trautmann property


MASSENA - No one has offered to purchase a two-story house, garage, shed and playhouse near the Massena International Airport from the town.

But officials are still hopeful someone may buy some or all of the “Trautmann property” structures before they are forced to demolish them.

The Massena Town Council voted unanimously in February to issue a request for proposals to sell the four structures at 367 N. Raquette River Road adjacent to the airport. Until recently, the property was a private residence owned by Stephen M. Trautmann.

The parcel is within the Federal Aviation Administration’s “runway protection zone” and must be cleared to meet requirements, according to Jon P. Donahue, department manager with C&S Engineers, which provides services at the airport. The FAA prohibits buildings within that area in order to create a buffer zone for planes near the airport.

The house has been in the zone for the 28 years it has been standing, but the FAA noticed it in a study several years ago, Mr. Donahue previously said. Its removal has nothing to do with the often-discussed airport expansion and is only to ensure the safety of the existing airspace.

The Trautmanns lived in the house until recently when the town bought the property. A $240,000 portion of a $1.3 million FAA grant for Massena airport improvements funded that purchase. Included in that portion is a local contribution of about $15,000.

But the RFP yielded no takers, Highway Superintendent Frank Diagostino told town board members this week.

“There were obviously some daunting challenges to removing a structure of that size,” Supervisor Joseph D. Grays said.

The town council is now waiting for a couple who contacted Mr. Diagostino recently with an interest.

“They called me today with a couple more questions,” Mr. Diagostino said.

The town council unanimously voted to post the buildings on Auctions International Web site if the couple withdraws their interest.

“I think we should take it to auction before we give it away or take it down,” Mr. Diagostino said.

If the auction doesn’t work out, officials may consider other options. Mr. Diagostino said the house is the only structure which must be removed, so the town could use the garage for storage.

Councilman John F. Macaulay said the town should consider selling materials within the house before tearing it down. That would be a better option than demolishing it and getting nothing for it, he said.

“It’d be somebody saying, “I’d offer you $20,000 to go in and take anything I want,’” he said.

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