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Massena hiring firm to remove airport obstructions

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MASSENA — The Town Council voted 4-0 with one abstention Wednesday night to move forward with a project to remove obstructions from the flight paths of planes at Massena International Airport.

The project, the bulk of which will be paid for through a grant from the federal government’s Airport Improvement Program, is expected to cost $41,200.

Town Supervisor Joseph D. Gray said the town’s share of the project’s cost is $1,030.

“We’ve been looking at eliminating airport flight obstructions,” Mr. Gray said, noting the majority of obstructions are simply trees in the area of the airport that have grown too tall and now impede what is considered to be the airport’s airspace.

“Sometimes we eliminate the trees and sometimes we just cut the tops off,” Mr. Gray said, adding it’s typically up to the property owner to decide how he or she would like to handle the situation.

Mr. Gray said that should the town remove a tree from someone’s land, the person is compensated for the value of the tree. But he also said sometimes property owners want more for the tree than the town is willing to pay. In those instances, Mr. Gray said, the trees remain standing until further action is required.

Councilman Thomas C. Miller, who owns land in the area of the airport, abstained from voting on the matter, noting he believes there are trees on his property that may be considered obstructions.

Highway Superintendent Frank J. Diagostino, who also serves as airport manager, said the removal of airport obstructions is a process that never ends.

“This will always be an ongoing thing because obviously trees grow,” he said.

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