MASSENA — Grant funding will allow additional work to take place at the town of Massena Retriever Training Grounds near the Massena Intake on state Route 131.

Town Councilman Thomas C. Miller said the town was awarded a $20,000 grant from the St. Lawrence River Valley Redevelopment Agency.

“There’s no match to that,” he said.

The grant was written by James Murphy, executive director of the Business Development Corporation for a Greater Massena, and Tony Zappia, a retriever dog owner and trainer who has been responsible for the creation of the site. The funding will be used to complete landscaping and drainage issues near the site’s Technical Training Pond, and to construct a protective fence along the grounds.

“That is going to costly roughly somewhere about the high $20s,” Mr. Miller said.

To help cover the extra cost, he suggested the town use the remainder of $15,000 they had agreed to spend on the training grounds a few years ago.

“At this point in time, we’ve only spent $5,400-some,” and the remainder of the work has been done by volunteers, he said.

A company will be contracted to do the ground work and install the safety fence, Mr. Miller said.

“I’m asking the board to be allowed to use the remainder of $10,000. I’m not saying it’s going to take all of that. I think it will take a little over the $20,000 we were awarded,” he said.

Work is expected to begin this month.

Mr. Miller had told town council members during their May meeting that they were seeking the grant funding for the grounds, the first of its kind in New York that’s municipally owned. The St. Lawrence River Valley Redevelopment Agency administers funds established and set aside through the New York Power Authority for economic development activities and programs.

“We have put together a package that is unbelievable. It shows hours and hours of in-kind service for the town of Massena. (Highway Superintendent Frank Diagostino) has done his part, too. You would not believe the total. The in-kind service is second to none. The town of Massena did very little for all the work that’s been done there,” Mr. Miller said in May.

A number of people have provided services since the town of Massena Retriever Training Grounds project began in 2015, including some who donated their time, others who donated their equipment, some who donated both and others who offered their support for the project.

The grant application included letters of support from training clubs that would like to use the grounds, including some from Ottawa, Montreal, Pennsylvania and other states, as well as the New York State Police, who use the site for off-leash training with their canine units.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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