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YesEleven brings transportation study pitch to Potsdam

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POTSDAM — Route 11 activists YESEleven continued their attempt to capitalize on the recent fervor surrounding transportation in the north country with a call for the village board to unite with other municipalities to study highway improvements.

“The governor has ratcheted up the issue of transportation in his State of the State, and then buttressed it with his budget,” YESEleven spokesman Richard Grover told trustees Monday.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo called for $2.5 million to study transportation in the north country. It initially appeared this money would be used to examine the possibility of creating a long-advocated “rooftop highway,” which YESEleven opposes. However, later clarifications have suggested the study will instead look at the possibility of bypasses on Route 11.

Mr. Grover urged Potsdam, Canton and the surrounding communities to unite and study the issues facing Route 11 for themselves, rather than leaving the fate of the transportation corridor in the hands of the state.

“I like to put the horse before the cart. Let’s do our local planning,” Mr. Grover said.

The village of Canton has already approved a resolution asking the St. Lawrence County Planning Board to study the issue, and Mr. Grover asked Potsdam to do the same.

“This is certainly an issue that the village board will take up and consider,” said Mayor Steven W. Yurgartis, suggesting that the issue will probably come to a vote at the board’s next meeting Feb. 18.

Trustee Eleanor F. Hopke suggested that the towns and villages of Canton and Potsdam meet together to draft a single resolution, rather than passing four similar resolutions separately.

In other business, the board officially annexed 31.3 acres of land on Country Lane belonging to Lloyd Vienneau from the town, and zoned it as B-1 multi-use property.

The official annexation is mostly a formality, finalizing an agreement reached in November.

Mr. Vienneau requested annexation into the village after a five-year struggle with contaminated well water at Country Lanes Apartments. He believes the problem was caused by the construction of the nearby Lowe’s Home Improvement Store.

He began receiving village water soon after the town and village initially approved the annexation.

“We took care of his water issue. We’ve still got to do his sewer in the spring,” Village Administrator David H. Fenton said.

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