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Village sells land to CSX for construction of bypass

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MASSENA - Two-and-a-half months of behind the scenes negotiations came to a conclusion Tuesday night when the Massena Village Board voted to sell .25 acres of land to CSX Transportation, Inc., for the construction of what Mayor James F. Hidy called a “bypass.”

The .25 acre piece of land, which the railroad bought for $3,250, is adjacent to property already owned by the railroad off South Main Street. Mr. Hidy indicated the parcel is on the south side of the tracks across from the train depot on the former Massena DPW building property.

Mr. Hidy said the village had been approached by CSX about the land several months ago.

“It’s been about a two-and-a-half month process with our legal team,” Mr. Hidy said.

Given the recent change in speed limit from 35 to 40 miles per hour, Mr. Hidy said the railroad was hoping to build a two-mile “bypass” that would allow slower trains to get off of the main track so quicker trains could pass through.

As part of the agreement, which also came with a $100 payment for a temporary easement, Mr. Hidy said CSX will build the much talked about railroad spur to connect the main tracks to Massena’s industrial park.

“We had an agreement that if the village did this, the would step up and do the spur for the industrial park,” Mr. Hidy said.

While Mr. Carvel did vote in favor of the transaction, he did say that he had a small problem with it.

“A big company comes in here and wants some land and we give it to them. Whatever they want to give us, that’s great,” he said, noting that’s not the approach the board has taken in the past when approached by private individuals looking to buy land from the village.

“The big boy gets what he wants, and the little guy has to suffer the consequences,” Mr. Carvel said, referring to an unnamed individual who has approached the village in the past about purchasing land that, according to Mr. Carvel, the village had not used in “60 years.” “We pick and choose who we sell to.”

When asked to specify about the denied transaction he was referring to, Mr. Carvel deferred additional comment to Mr. Hidy.

While Mr. Hidy said he was aware of the what Mr. Carvel was talking about, he too declined to offer specifics, deferring comment back to Mr. Carvel.

Three years ago, village officials had rejected offers by AmVets Post 4 and Massena businessman Charlie McGrath to purchase a 6.3 acre site on Water Street that had at one time been designated as the home of the proposed Salvation Army Kroc Center, a plan that died due to a lack of long-term funding.

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