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Massena BDC plans to consult with environmentalist regarding SHPO properties

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MASSENA - Now that all 10 projects in Massena’s downtown have been submitted and approved by the State Historic Preservation Office, there is one more hoop to jump through before the downtown revitalization efforts can continue.

During the Massena Business Development Corporation’s monthly board meeting, officials discussed the need for an environmentalist to look over an environmental checklist for each of the downtown properties.

“Now that the projects have come back from SHPO for clearance, all 10 of those property owners have been sent the packets. We’ve started to receive some correspondence back. We’ve received one contractor estimate for one of the properties in the office this week. We reached out to those folks to let them know that we got one of their estimates in and if they could get their second one in, we could get their project moving fairly quickly,” BDC Executive Director Thomas Sullivan said.

“It’d be nice so that we can send it to the state because we have an environmental checklist that we still have to do and there’s still some uncertainty on how that process is going to work because the state has made some changes in how they accept environmental information. They would like to see some sign off from an environmental specialist,” he added.

“I’ve got a couple of contacts out there where I’m trying to see if I can get somebody that’s considered an environmental specialist to look at our documentation such that we don’t have to go out and spend some money.”

Mr. Sullivan noted that the look over from an environmental specialist could be very simple, therefore he stressed the importance of getting one of the projects completely together and ready to be sent out.

“I don’t want to send things if it all has to come back and has to be re-done on the environmental side. We’re not in any phase 1 type cleanups or that type of thing, it’s really just facade improvements and awnings and such,” he said. “Every time you turn around the language is a little different though. I think once it’s submitted we’ll know for sure. Like I said, I think it’s much to do about nothing but we just have to make sure it’s done correctly.

“With the Main Street grant, when we send in our projects, we have to send in to the state specific information on each project with the estimates that they’ve received from contractors and with that there’s documentation that’s called an environmental checklist. That might say, ‘Are you in a 100 year flood plan? Are you in a coastal zone? Is radon an issue?’ So there’s a check box and we have to check off and then give language that justifies it. ... We just want to make sure that before we send it in that we’re not creating more work by not having the correct information up front.”

Mr. Sullivan said that the BDC has not yet decided on who they will us as the environmental specialist.

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