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Sun., Oct. 4
Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York
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Massena orders structural review of three structures considered for demolition


MASSENA - The village’s Board of Trustees took another step toward potentially demolishing three structures at its meeting this week.

But at least one of the three structures, the former Homestead Dairy building at 106 W. Hatfield St. may not meet the wrecking ball and instead could be rehabilitated by a new owner, according to Mayor James F. Hidy.

The village board unanimously decided to retain Department of Public Works Superintendent Hassan A. Fayad, who also is certified as an engineer, to evaluate the structural integrity of the old dairy store, a building foundation at 68 Spruce St. and a building at 68 Water St. damaged in a 2008 fire.

Village Attorney Matthew McArdle recommended the board pursue the structural reviews before proceeding any further with the demolition process.

“What deficiencies in the building rose to the definition of unsafe?” he asked.

At a July meeting, Code Enforcement Officer Gregory C. Fregoe presented demolition recommendations for those structures. The owner of the Spruce Street parcel previously tore down a house there and had promised to rebuild a couple of years ago, but instead a foundation has remained there, Mr. Fregoe said. The Homestead Dairy building’s front paneling and lettering is falling off, and the structure is deteriorating. Mr. Fregoe said that building was in “terrible shape.”

Trustee Albert C. “Herb” Deshaies expressed his frustration with the need for an engineering report.

“We keep going around and around and around,” he said. You don’t have to be an engineer to do that.”

“That’s why we have a code enforcement officer. That’s his job,” Mr. Deshaies said.

But only a certified engineer like Mr. Fayad could complete a structural review, Trustee Patricia K. “Trish” Wilson responded.

“We have to make sure that we follow the letter of the law,” Ms. Wilson said.

The village may schedule demolition hearings once Mr. Fayad submits his report on the buildings.

“Let’s get the information we need to make a decision on these,” Ms. Wilson said.

The dairy building is heading for the county’s annual tax sale this fall and may be sold to an individual who has expressed interest in it, Mr. Hidy said.

Mr. Hidy did not provide a specific name, but said the individual planned to convert the building into apartments if he purchased it.

“It’d be a good asset if it fell into his hands,” Mr. Hidy said. “He has a couple facilities now that we’re pretty satisfied with.”

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