The waterfront of the city of Niagara Falls will be undergoing some drastic changes over the next year or two, and even though the city doesn't actually own its waterfront (New York State Parks and NYPA do), and the changes aren't all positive (south Moses Parkway upgrade, the ongoing granitization of Niagara Falls State Park, see last week's issue), there are some clear-cut victories that should be noted.
Three years ago this month, State Parks was poised to knock down several historic buildings at DeVeaux Woods State Park, including the 150-year-old historic Carriage House, when the Reporter blew the whistle literally days before the demolition was to take place.
According to a story last week by Aaron Besecker in the Buffalo News, State Parks has issued a request for proposals detailing new uses for the historic buildings of the DeVeaux campus. The Carriage House (which "could be a tasting area for wine made on-site"), the old gymnasium (which "may be turned into something wellness-related, like a yoga studio") and the stately Schoellkopf Hall (possibly a "nice boutique hotel") are part of the package.
And none of this would be on the drawing board were it not for the intervention of the Niagara Falls Reporter.
This newspaper, standing alone, called for Greenway reform. Now there are bills pending in the Albany legislature to accomplish that. This newspaper, for over a decade, has been unwavering in its unabashed support of north Moses Parkway removal, while the local dailies have pursued a wishy-washy, uninspired, "let's make everybody happy" approach.
Next year, the north Moses Parkway is slated to be removed (at least up to Findlay Drive, after which time we'll pick up where we left off and call for ridding ourselves of the rest of it).
In another recent development, driven in part by this newspaper's advocacy, the Niagara Falls City Council passed a resolution 5-0 titled "Relative to Supporting the Initiative for New York State to gift the Nikola Tesla Statue to the City of Niagara Falls", sponsored by Council Member Glenn Choolokian.
The text of the resolution is as follows:
WHEREAS, Nikola Tesla is credited with developing and patenting the alternating current system process which resulted in the creation of generators for the long distance transmission of power by electricity; and
WHEREAS, Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse built the first hydro-electric power plant in 1895 in Niagara Falls, New York; and
WHEREAS, this power plant and others like it are credited with starting the electrification of the world; and
WHEREAS, there is located in the Niagara Falls State Park at Goat Island a statue celebrating the life of Nikola Tesla; and
WHEREAS, an initiative is developing by individuals in the City of Niagara Falls which is encouraging New York State to gift the Tesla statue to the City of Niagara Falls for the purpose of locating the statue in a place in the City (yet to be determined) that is suitable and recognizes the tremendous scientific contribution to the world made by Nikola Tesla.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that this City Council does support the initiative for New York State to gift the Nikola Tesla statue to the City of Niagara Falls for the purpose of locating the statue in a place in the City (yet to be determined) that is suitable for such a statue.
We applaud the actions of the City Council, and thank them for their vision and courage.
You can be sure that we will keep you updated on this issue.
Now that the Niagara Falls City Council has shown its leadership mettle, it's time for State Senator George Maziarz, Mayor Paul Dyster, Assemblyman John Ceretto and State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey to step up to the plate and voice their support for moving the Tesla statue into the city.
The city council passed the resolution to obtain the Tesla statue 5-0.
Before the meeting Mayor Dyster told this writer that if the resolution passes he will call the Parks Commissioner and ask for the statue.
That's progress, we hope.