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Village gives Kathleen Hyde until spring to begin work on property

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MASSENA - The owner of a property destroyed by fire in 2008 has been given until this spring to do something with the land, or else village officials said say they’ll step in and take care of it themselves.

“Ms. (Kathleen) Hyde, on an annual basis since I have been mayor, has said that in October she would be building,” according to Mayor James F. Hidy, who noted that yet another October has come and gone without anything happening at the 17 Main St. site that formerly housed her computer business, Novosel Associates.

Massena Fire Department Foreman Ken McGowan said that he and village Department of Public Works Superintendent Hassan A. Fayad, who is a licensed engineer, recently took a tour of the property. Mr. Fayad told the village board this week he felt a plastic covering should be placed over the foundation and suggested the floor joists and curent covering over the foundation had been impacted by exposure to the weather.

“The issue with the former Novosel property is the village is worried that the foundation will become dilapidated and it will be unsafe for the public to be around it,” he said, noting that as of right now Mr. Fayad said the foundation remains safe enough to get through the winter.

Mr. McGowan said it was his understanding Ms. Hyde was planning to build on the site this year, but with winter now herethose plans will have to wait.

“Basically we’re giving her until winter breaks and then we’ll have Hass (Mr. Fayad) take another look at it, and if he deems it unsafe we’ll send an inspection report to the village and they can move forward with condemning the property,” he said.

A second vacant property, owned by Harry Hammill, was also destroyed in the blaze and remains empty, but Mr. McGowan said that property is not as much of a concern.

“There property is not a big concern as far as safety goes, because there is no basement there,” he said.

As for the property owned by Ms. Hyde, Mr. McGowan said the concern is the foundation there could give way, which may cause the nearby sidewalk to give out.

Mr. Hidy said as far as he’s concerned the time has come for Ms. Hyde to do something with property or step aside.

“We’re going to make every effort to ensure the property owners comply with the scope of downtown redevelopment, whether it be putting up a structure or making a green space. We’re going to do everything within our power.”

Mr. Hidy also noted that Ms. Hyde was given grant funding to help rebuild the property, but instead has elected to do nothing.

“This is a blatant case of the owner, who has received money from the village to clean up this property, showing a complete disregard for what we’re trying to do downtown,” he said. “If she’s going to take public monies she has a responsibility to fall in line with everyone else.”

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