Massena commission preparing for NYPA talks

The Massena Intake Boat Launch off Route 131. The 10-year review of the New York Power Authority’s relicensing agreement for the St. Lawrence-FDR Power Project is coming up, and town of Massena officials are looking for community input before those discussions begin. Among the projects that originated from 2013 discussions were upgrades to the Massena Intake. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

MASSENA — The 10-year review of the New York Power Authority’s relicensing agreement for the St. Lawrence-FDR Power Project is coming up, and town of Massena officials are looking for community input before those discussions begin between the Power Authority and the Local Government Task Force.

The Local Government Task Force includes officials from the towns of Massena, Louisville and Waddington. Massena Town Supervisor Steven D. O’Shaughnessy is chairs the task force, and Louisville Town Supervisor Larry R. Legault is vice chair.

Every 10 years, NYPA reallocates money provided to communities affected by flooding nearly 70 years ago. In 2013, at the latest 10-year review, the state set aside about $7.5 million to go toward different recreation projects that would enhance communities in the affected zones.

This year, the Massena Joint Recreation Commission is looking for recreational ideas that can be addressed during the negotiations. Among the projects that were undertaken as part of the 2013 talks were improvements at the Massena Intake. The commission has written a seven-question survey, accessible at, for community members to provide input.

“We have a review every 10 years, the next one is in 2023. We’re trying to gear up and find out what people want that are within the project boundaries,” Mr. O’Shaughnessy said.

The boundaries include the towns of Massena, Louisville and Waddington, the villages of Massena and Waddington, St. Lawrence County, Massena Central School District and Madrid-Waddington Central School District.

Among other questions in the survey, the commission asks if respondents are aware of recent improvements at the Massena Intake, and if they feel the improvements have increased recreational opportunities or tourism in Massena and surrounding areas.

Respondents are also asked to select the three most important improvements and/or additions they would like to see at the Massena Town Beach — construction of a new pickleball/tennis court; splash pad; construction of a new basketball court; outdoor movie screen with log benches; more wooded trails upstream of the beach; paved trails to all pavilions; permanent cornhole sites; BMX/Cyclocross trail; construction of a go-cart track; construction of a zip line/rope course; construction of a courtesy dock for transient boaters; or a kayak launch/kayak rentals.

They’re also asked to select a maximum of two improvements or additions they’d most like to see at Robert Moses State Park — new full hook-up recreational vehicle campsites on the water; additional rental cabins; installation of lights and other amenities on Robinson Bay; an increase in multi-purpose trails for all-season usage; or other improvements.

There’s also a question about improvements or additions they’d like to see at the Massena Intake, including increased paved parking for boats/trailers, additional parking, or the connection of a walking trail from downtown Massena to the intake.

Recreation officials want to know where people would like to see the greatest dedication of resources — Massena Town Beach and outlying area, Massena Intake and outlying area, or Robert Moses State Park.

Mr. O’Shaughnessy said impacted communities are formulating their own ideas for community participation. The town and village of Waddington, for instance, will be holding a couple of hearings to determine what community members would like to see, he said. The town of Louisville also conducted an online survey.

“In 2013, there was a lot of waterfront recreation (suggestions) and we’ve done that,” he said.

In addition to recreation, Mr. O’Shaughnessy said there could also be a focus on projects that would increase tourism in the region.

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