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Sun., Sep. 21
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Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York

Rail spur at Massena Industrial Park nearing bidding process

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MASSENA - A proposed rail spur that would connect Massena’s industrial park to the already existing CSX rail line that runs through the village is becoming closer to a reality.

Massena Business Development Corporation Executive Director Thomas Sullivan said he is expecting the bidding process for the project to begin within the next month, with construction to start this spring.

“We’re hoping to have a completed rail by next fall,” he said. “We’re over the hump, and we’re moving forward.”

BDC Board President Larry Ralston said he’s confident that once the spur is built it will mean good things for Massena and its industrial park.

“I’m certain we’ll see an increase in jobs if that comes to fruition,” he told members of the Massena Village Board Tuesday night.

Mayor James F. Hidy said he’s been assured by CSX that the project will begin in the near future.

“CSX has assured us that with the bypass they’re going to do the rail spur at the same time.

Mr. Hidy was referring to a two-mile bypass to be built in the village that will allow slower trains to pull off of the main tracks in order for faster trains to continue through the village.

Mr. Sullivan said that the BDC has received nearly enough grants to cover Phase I of the rail project, which has an estimated price tag of $942,000.

Phase I of the project, he said, would connect the industrial park to the railroad, while a proposed Phase II would loop the railr spur through the entire industrial park, including several vacant properties in an effort to make those parcel more marketable.

When asked for a price tag on Phase II, Mr. Sullivan replied, “That hasn’t been figured out yet.”

The BDC though is in possession of $50,000, courtesy of gaming compact funds, that he said will be used to get started on fundraising for Phase II.

While there was some initial belief that there would be a local share for Phase I, Mr. Sullivan said that now does not appear to the be the case.

“Phase I is paid for,” he said, noting it would be paid for through series of grants, and with the assistance of a “bridge loan” from the River Valley Redevelopment Association (RVRDA).

Mr. Sullivan explained that a bridge loan for $250,000 was provided to the BDC to pay for expenses associated with the project that must be paid up front. The loan will then be paid back when reimbursable grant funds from the New York Start Department of Transportation, Empire State Development Corporation and Northern Border Regional Commission are received.

Mr. Sullivan said the BDC has received a $65,000 grant from the RVRDA for engineering expenses, a $209,000 grant from the Empire State Development Corporation, a $318,600 grant from the New York State Department of Transportation and a $123,500 grant from the Northern Border Regional Commission.

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