Massena mayor: Motel owner’s migrant housing idea won’t happen

Migrant housing in Massena
Published: Aug. 16, 2023 at 5:38 AM EDT
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MASSENA, New York (WWNY) - The mayor of Massena says there are several reasons that a motel owner’s idea to bring migrants up from New York City won’t happen.

At a Tuesday village board meeting, former Mayor Jim Hidy asked current Mayor Greg Paquin what he’s doing to prevent the Massena Quality Inn from housing nearly 200 migrants.

A New York Post article earlier this month said Quality Inn owner Gary Melius wants New York City’s mayor to send migrants north to fill his 115-room property on West Orvis Street.

Paquin says there are two reasons it won’t happen.

First, he says the village doesn’t have the resources to accommodate them. Second, he says housing them would classify the Quality Inn as a boarding home, which would be against village code.

“You talk about the pristine of the downtown, all of that good stuff, you got to maintain it, not to mention the safety,” Hidy said. “We don’t know who these people are, and what caught my eye, Greg. is that you made the comment ‘take a deep breath, this is never going to happen.’”

“But in case it ever were to happen, our code doesn’t allow it, as I also said,” Paquin said. “I think people need to understand when I say, ‘take a deep breath,’ there are migrants in this village, they come across the northern border, so it’s not as though they are not around and they are not here, but no one ever expected anything from the south, if you will.”

Paquin says the owner of the motel has not reached out to the village on the matter.