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Massena Town Council votes to put house out for salvage bid

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MASSENA - The Massena Town Council voted unanimously to put a two-story house near the Massena International Airport out to bid for salvage.

Supervisor Joseph D. Gray said he’d received two verbals offers for the home. One potential buyer offered $2,000 and expressed interest in disassembling and moving the building next spring. A second potential buyer, interested in disassembling the structure, offered “considerably more” than $2,000, although less than the town’s desired price of $10,000. Mr. Gray said.

The town supervisor did not disclose the amount of the second offer.

The council voted unanimously in February to issue a request for proposals to sell the four structures at 367 N. Raquette River Road adjacent to the airport. Until recently, the property was a private residence owned by Stephen M. Trautmann.

The parcel is within the Federal Aviation Administration’s “runway protection zone” and must be cleared to meet requirements, according to Jon P. Donahue, department manager with C&S Engineers, which provides services at the airport. The FAA prohibits buildings within that area in order to create a buffer zone for planes near the airport.

The house has been in the zone for the 28 years it has been standing, but the FAA noticed it in a study several years ago, Mr. Donahue previously said. Its removal has nothing to do with the often-discussed airport expansion and is only to ensure the safety of the existing airspace.

The Trautmanns lived in the house until recently when the town bought the property. A $240,000 portion of a $1.3 million FAA grant for Massena airport improvements funded that purchase. Included in that portion is a local contribution of about $15,000.

The house itself is assessed at about $175,000, Mr. Gray said. However, the fact the structure needs to be moved off the property makes a possible sale difficult.

“It’s a full two-story house. You can’t just throw it on a tractor trailer and move it down the road,” Mr. Gray said.

Councilman John F. Macaulay pointed out the advantage of having another property on the tax rolls if the house was moved to another site in the town. One of the potential bidders had expessed interest in moving the house across the road or to a site on the nearby Bayley Road.

But he noted that the offer of $2,000 from the potential buyer who expressed interest in moving the structure is considerably less than the town wants for the former Trautman house.

“It’s not our position to make another person’s low bid profitable,” Mr. Macaulay said. “As much as I’d like to see it stay on the tax rolls, I’d rather have the bird in hand.”

Town officials said they could fill in the basement on site after the building is demolished.

“We’re always dumping fill, looking for someplace to put the fill,” Massena Highway Superintendent Frank Diagostino said.

Town officials indicated they would be willing to work with the successful bidder on a time frame for completing the work, likely hoping to have the work done by June.

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