Representatives of Massena have been making significant efforts to enhance the community’s waterfront, and there’s every reason to believe this will have positive results in the near future.
Aside from its proximity to the St. Lawrence River, the Massena area also has the Grasse River and Raquette River flowing through it. This presents tremendous recreational opportunities.
More than two years ago, the village of Massena began participating in the state’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, operated by the New York State Department of State’s Office of Planning and Development. This brings local resources together with those provided by the state to help communities revitalize their waterfront areas.
Members of Massena’s LWRP committee have been soliciting the public’s input on how best to achieve this goal. This has been an opportunity for residents to see their shared vision for brought to life.
Massena also will receive $200,000 in state funding through the Regional Economic Development Council Initiative for various projects. Some of this money will be used to improve access to the village’s waterfront. In addition, the village is allocating some of the $10 million it received from the state through the Downtown Revitalization Initiative on the Grasse River.
Some individuals are pursuing another exciting prospect to take advantage of what this region has to offer.
Donald R. Meissner, sports-fishing promotion director for the town of Massena, recently told the Town Board that a kayak rental organization is exploring the possibility of locating here. Meissner is one of the people who have been touting Massena to people at sports shows to lure interest.
“We’ve got an incredible water resource, and one of the things [Councilor Adrian F. Taraska] has said to me is it’s very similar to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where they’ve crowned themselves and gone forward about their three river identity,” Meissner said, according to a story published Jan. 20 by the Watertown Daily Times. “We have a three river identity here, too. We have the Grasse River and the Raquette River that both flow through Massena, and most people don’t have the opportunity to access these rivers like it could be possible to really start using this resource again to promote our economy.”
Meissner said a company has expressed an interest in operating kiosks to rent kayaks in Massena. This organization, which Meissner did not name, had heard about the region and believes this plan could succeed.
“They would put these self-contained kiosks at our places that we have in Massena like on the Raquette River at our access site, or on the Grasse River, or maybe up to the campgrounds, places like that,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be just fishing. It’s to get out and enjoy our two rivers and maybe some of the other waters around.”
The DRI plans hold particular promise for increasing access to the area’s waterfront.
“Eight of Massena’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative-funded projects were given the green light from state officials,” the article reported. “The village will turn the former Massena School of Business site into hardscape courtyard/transitional space with a mezzanine that connects the downtown corridor with the riverwalk areas while preserving the historic School of Business façade. Another $1,715,000 will go to the downtown riverwalk project. Village officials want to build a scenic walkway along portions of the Grasse River and what the governor’s office described as ‘formalization’ of the kayak launch behind the Massena Fire Department, in coordination with current landowners.”
This is exciting news for Massena, and we commend officials for helping to create these possibilities. Making use of this asset is a good way to showcase the region’s finest qualities.
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