MASSENA — It’s been a subject of discussion for at least seven years, but the Massena Town Council is now taking the first step in the possible construction of a new highway garage.
During a meeting this week, the board authorized Supervisor Steven D. O’Shaughnessy to sign a professional services agreement for $170,000 with C&S Engineers, Inc., Syracuse, for the project design of a 21,000-square-foot town highway garage.
“As you know, we’ve talked about this for quite some time,” Mr. O’Shaughnessy said.
He noted that they had already discussed what the project would entail during a special board meeting, and now it was time to move forward.
“This would be paid for more than likely with a grant and loan through USDA Rural Development at low-cost financing. They’re the ones that are helping finance our water line replacement. There will be some grant money,” he said.
Mr. O’Shaughnessy said they may also be eligible to have the engineering fee paid for by USA Rural Development. C&S Engineers, Inc. will be asked to come up with “a couple of scenarios, he said.
Town officials began discussing their options in 2013 for what was a more than 50-year-old highway barn on the South Raquette Road. They had ultimately decided that building a new highway barn would likely be their best option. However, the proposed project never moved forward.
A reorganization study that was conducted last year had recommended merging the town’s Highway Department with the village’s Department of Public Works.
Kent Gardner, the project director who oversaw the reorganization study, had presented town and village officials with options for potential savings.
Among them, he had noted that town officials continue to explore replacing their aging current highway garage, and combining that department with the Department of Public Works at the DPW’s Robinson Road facility might make economical sense.
He said they had three potential options with the Highway Department — work with the existing building to see if its life expectancy could be extended, replace the current building with another one on the same South Raquette River Road site, or do some construction at the DPW garage to offer opportunities to share individuals, equipment and services.
He said officials would need to estimate the difference in the cost of replacing the existing structure versus expanding the village facility. There would also need to be coordination with the Massena Central School District, since it’s a joint shared transportation facility between the village and district.
However, that recommendation has failed to move forward.