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Items in synagogue up for sale on Friday

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MASSENA - Some of the items that were left behind when the Greater Massena Chamber of Commerce purchased the former Adath Israel synagogue will be put up for sale on Friday.

Among the items that will be on the selling block are old school desks and stained glass, according to chamber Executive Director Michael J. Gleason.

“There’s a lot of it. There’s plenty to go around,” he said.

The sale will be held from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Friday. Visitors will be able to peruse the items and indicate on the item the price they’re willing to pay for it.

Mr. Gleason said they’re selling items that they have no need for as they prepare to move from their current 50 Main St. location to the former synagogue in the next couple of months.

“Some of the old school desks that are going to be in there, we’ll have on one of the main floors on the kitchen side of the synagogue,” he said.

Some of the desks are old, he said, while others are likely from the 1960s.

They’ll also have old stained glass that was left in the basement.

“We have quite a bit of stained glass. We’re not sure if they’re old windows that were there,” Mr. Gleason said.

They’ll also have old doors, hanging lights and other miscellaneous items available, according to the chamber director.

“We’re just trying to clean it out before we paint and clean the floors and the carpets,” he said.

Chamber officials signed the paperwork in July that transferred ownership of the former synagogue to them for $1. They had been actively seeking another location for nearly three years. St. Lawrence County foreclosed on the building currently housing their office last year, and asbestos abatement and roof issues plague the structure.

The synagogue, located at the corner of West Orvis and Church streets, dates back to 1844, when it was built as the Emmanuel Congregational Church of Christ. The synagogue took over the space after the Emmanuel congregation moved into a new church on West Orvis Street in the 1920s.

Members of the Emmanuel Congregational Church of Christ moved back into the synagogue on a temporary basis after fire ripped through their church in 2007. The synagogue has sat vacant since 2009 when the Emmanuel congregation moved back into their renovated facility.

Now it will be soon be the new home for the chamber.

“We’re going to wait until after the Harvest Fest (on Sept. 8). We’ll move after we have the Harvest Fest downtown,” Mr. Gleason said.

Until then, he said, they’ve been working to get their new home ready for occupancy.

“We’re working on that now. We have a new hot water heater and the plumbing is all fixed,” he said.

They’ve put out bids for furnaces, and Mr. Gleason said they have someone lined up to do the carpet and floor cleaning.

“We’re trying to put a schedule together for getting some painting done,” he said.

He said they’re looking forward to the move to a new facility that will offer them more room than their current location.

“We’re excited. It’s a nice venue for us and it’s great for the community,” Mr. Gleason said.

Whether they’ll be joined by the Business Development Corporation for a Greater Massena remains to be seen, he said. Village and town officials met last week to discuss the future of Massena economic development, and one of the possibilities on the table is shared services between the two entities or even potentially combining them.

“It depends on what direction they want to go. Those conversations have been ongoing for two to three years,” Mr. Gleason said.

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