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Main Street project creates havoc for Canton bed and breakfast business

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CANTON — The owners of an East Main Street bed and breakfast complained to village trustees Monday evening the Route 11 reconstruction project is blocking access to their business and often waking their sleeping guests before 7 a.m.

Charles F. Rouse, and his wife, Brooke E., owners of 24 E. Main St. Bed & Breakfast, asked the Board of Trustees for help in controlling a situation they claimed is threatening their business and leaving some customers disgruntled.

The couple asked officials to research and enforce the village’s noise ordinance so that heavy equipment like bulldozers and tractors aren’t allowed to operate before 7 a.m.

They also requested that the state Department of Transportation guarantee them access to their property so they’re not scrambling to figure out how to get their customers into the renovated home where they operate their bed and breakfast.

“There are some laws in place to protect residents of the village and we’re asking you to enforce those laws,” Mrs. Rouse said. “Now that downtown is pretty, it seems East Main Street businesses have somehow gone by the wayside.”

The couple’s property is adjacent to the CSX railroad crossing which was replaced as part of the project.

The Rouses also own other nearby rental properties that have been affected by the ongoing $9.5 million DOT reconstruction project.

Village Trustee Daniel J. McDonnell said village officials need to take a strong stand with CSX, the DOT and the project’s general contractor, Luck Bros. Inc., Plattsburgh, in order to safeguard Canton residents and businesses.

“These people should be able to get to their businesses. It’s frustrating to me that we’re letting anyone do whatever they want,” he said.

For the next 10 days, the couple should be guaranteed access to Jay Street, which is off Main Street and adjacent to their business, Mr. McDonnell said.

Village Superintendent Brien E. Hallahan said work near the rail crossing is taking longer than expected, partly because CSX increased its train speed limit from 25 to 40 mph.

As a result, DOT unexpectedly had to alter its design plan, which will add several hundred thousands of dollars to the project’s cost, he said, adding that the state will have to pick up the extra expense.

“I have no reservation saying that the criticism should go to CSX,” Mr. Hallahan said.

Village trustees directed attorney Gerald Ducharme to research whether the village can insist the train speed remain at 25 mph.

In other action, the board delayed making a decision about creating a dog park at Canton Island, also known as Willow Island. During a public hearing, Thomas M. Cutter said the board should seek input from the six-member Canton Grasse River Revitalization Committee. That group spent five years developing a lengthy plan that was adopted by the village board in 2010.

“This board at the bare minimum should refer to this proposal,” Mr. Cutter said.

Several community members spoke in favor of creating the fenced-in dog park on the island.

Village Mayor David P. Curry directed members of the community’s dog park committee to meet with the Grasse River revitalization group.

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