Northern New York Newspapers
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Sun., Oct. 4
Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York

Hidy would like NYPA to help repair weir


MASSENA - Mayor James F. Hidy would like the New York Power Authority to help him fix the breached Grasse River weir.

For over one year, Mr. Hidy has been pushing for repairs to the 300-foot-long weir, last rebuilt in 1913. In spring 1997, a large tree floating down the river after a thaw broke a hole through the center of the structure, which has remained breached since.

The breach has caused water levels to fall during the summer and limited recreational uses, Mr. Hidy said. He is interested in mending the dam to restore water levels, which could create boating, kayaking and other opportunities downtown and spur potential development.

Last spring, Clarkson University Professor Emeritus Norbert L. Ackermann, whose expertise is in water resources, evaluated the site and Mr. Hidy’s idea. He called $1 million in repairs a “conservative estimate” and said the project would require a firm specializing in dam repairs. The village would also have to address the changes in the ecosystem since the weir first breached 15 years ago.

At the time, Department of Public Works Superintendent Hassan A. Fayad said the project would need state or federal aid to progress.

Mr. Hidy said he doubted the repairs would actually cost that much, and is hopeful NYPA could assist Massena in reconstruction. Joseph Leary, vice president of government affairs, will be visiting with Mr. Hidy and other officials on Wednesday.

Mr. Leary visits communities around the state periodically to provide updates on projects, such as the upcoming repaving of Robinson Bay Road in Robert Moses State Park. But Wednesday’s meeting may also provide an opportunity to discuss the weir, Mr. Hidy said.

“There’s some community projects we’d like them to take a look at,” he said. “They’ve always been very helpful in the past with boat ramps and outhouses and things of that nature.”

Mr. Hidy said he was encouraged by recent dialogue he had with Mr. Leary and other NYPA officials. Massena needs help redeveloping its downtown and infrastructure, he said.

“I think they’re ready to take a more active role in helping the host communities,” he said.

“They’ve always been very helpful in the past,” he said. “I know they will be gracious to assist us on pretty much everything we approach them on.”

NYPA spokesman Michael Saltzmann declined comment.

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