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Massena Chamber planning open house at new home

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MASSENA - The Greater Massena Chamber of Commerce’s old home at 50 Main St. is just about history.

All that remain to indicate the chamber had been there are a couple of computers and phones.

That means the move to their new home at 16 Church St., the former Adath Israel synagogue, is just about complete.

“We’ve got the electrical being done next week. That is the last piece basically for us moving out of 50 Main St.,” chamber Executive Director Michael J. Gleason told chamber board members Thursday.

They also had bids for cleaning their new building, taking care of the grass and yard area and upgrading the locks on the doors, he said.

In addition, they’ve replaced broken windows along the front and side of the building.

As of Thursday, the former synagogue was looking more and more like an office. Cubicle areas had been set up for chamber staff, travel brochures were displayed and some contents of their store were also on display.

Chamber officials are planning to celebrate the relocation during a Nov. 7 open house and business after-hours event at 16 Church St.

“It’s not going to be like we had at the country club,” Mr. Gleason said, referring to the last business after-hours that celebrated the 50th anniversary of St. Lawrence Gas. “We’ll do the best we can with the budget we have.”

The event, which runs from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., will include snacks and refreshments, music, door prizes, a raffle, Cape Air ticket giveaways and more.

Mr. Gleason said they’ll make use of both sides of the building - a former kitchen area that’s now their offices and the worship side where they’ll be able to stage concerts.

“We can set food up here on this side,” he said, referring to the kitchen area, “and have entertainment on that side. The church side is pretty much cleaned out and ready for the after-hours.”

Chamber officials had 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 50 Main St., 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 had sat vacant since 2009 when the Emmanuel congregation moved back into their renovated facility.

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