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Tue., Sep. 1
Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York

Additional security planned for Massena town buildings


MASSENA - New security measures could be on the way for several town buildings, according to Supervisor Joseph D. Gray.

Massena Town Council members are considering bonding for a multi-phase capital project to address infrastructure concerns. The front facade of the Massena Town Hall and the front steps are deteriorating and need repair. The town barn is also in bad shape and needs upgrades to remain functional, officials previously said.

Council members recently received an estimate of more than $1.2 million for that work. But the installation of new security measures was not included in that estimate, Mr. Gray said. In total, the council may bond for either $1.5 million or $2 million over a 15-year or 20-year period.

The additional security could include new surveillance cameras in the Massena Town Hall, library, museum and community center, Mr. Gray said. The town may install doors locked with electronic card keys, and more emergency call buttons for each facility.

Additional security is a necessity in public buildings today, Mr. Gray said. The lock downs of the Massena Memorial Hospital and Massena Central School District last fall due to nearby incidents with firearms make more security all the more important, he said.

Last November, a 19-year-old walking through the village with a gun near Massena Central High School and Nightengale Elementary School prompted the schools to shut down, before the man committed suicide. A 48-year-old man fatally shot himself at the MMH entrance a few days later, prompting that facility to lock down and divert traffic.

“Those incidents demonstrated the need for increased security in public facilities,” Mr. Gray said. “These are all attempts to make public facilities as secure as possible.”

Village officials have expressed an interest in partnering on the security improvements, Mr. Gray said. All the elements of the capital project are necessary - nobody is building the Taj Mahal, he said.

“It’s important for people to understand that we’re not looking to do these projects just to spend money,” Mr. Gray said. “When you have chunks of facade falling off, something needs to be done right away.

“These aren’t just cosmetic improvements to make things look better,” Mr. Gray said. “These are things that need to be done and should have been done years ago.”

Councilman Charles A. Raiti agreed on the need for improvements. New security cameras in town hall will address blind spots existing ones can’t reach, he said.

“It’s to upgrade what we have and add a couple things,” Mr. Raiti said. “Public buildings are a target.”

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