How many times as the Dyster-DeSantis Jayne Park plan was discussed - before it was finally implemented this past November - had the Reporter warned of the historic dangers presented by the plan for Cayuga Island?
How many times since 2009 has the Reporter written that the Jayne Park plan was going to desecrate and devalue the bucolic Jayne Park and greater Cayuga Island neighborhood?
The answer to both questions is, "plenty of times."
Niagara Gazette feature writer, Michele DeLuca, in a January 11 story titled, "History teacher thinks backyard cannonball is from 17th century ship" wrote that a cannonball was discovered in the backyard of Cayuga Island resident Mike Esposito as workers installed a fence on his property last year.
Esposito is a history teacher at Niagara Falls high school.
Where is the Esposito backyard? It's across the street from Jayne Park and about two hundred yards from the shore of the Little River.
The front of Esposito's house is on Griffon Avenue and the back of his residence is on Joliet Avenue, directly across from Jayne Park.
The Reporter noted time and again that the Dyster-DeSantis construction project on Cayuga Island was on land that was significant to American history and sacred to the Seneca people.
So historic in fact that Esposito and local historian Paul Gromosiak are wondering if the found cannonball may not have a link to the famous Great Lakes explorer Rene Robert LaSalle and the legendary ship he and his crew constructed on Cayuga Island…the Griffon.
The search for the Griffon shipwreck goes on to this day along the Great Lakes in spite of the fact that the boat sunk from view about four centuries ago. Some experts believe the ship is resting on the bottom of Lake Michigan.
Consider that the history of Cayuga Island and the Little River is provably linked to the famous explorer LaSalle and his legendary ship, the Griffon.
Consider that in the past two months Mayor Dyster and his chief planner, Tom DeSantis have directed the removal of up to 40,000 cubic feet of Cayuga Island soil that, until November of 2014, rested undisturbed for centuries adjacent to the shores of the historic Little River.
Now, consider the inevitability that within those 40,000 cubic feet of rich Cayuga Island-Jayne Park soil there were Seneca artifacts, early American settler artifacts, evidence of island visitors and inhabitants, evidence of past animal life and, quite likely, artifacts relating to LaSalle himself and even the legendary boat whose construction he supervised, the Griffon.
The removal of 40,000 cubic feet of soil from an archeologically rich area of Niagara County such as Cayuga Island in such a fashion is, in this day and age of presumed scientific and historic enlightenment, inexcusable.
The soil was scooped up and unceremoniously dumped into tandem trucks and hauled away as opposed to being sifted and studied.
Niagara Falls talks about its inferiority complex springing from its lack of high-rise buildings in comparison to the bulging skyline of Niagara Falls, Ontario: skyscraper envy.
Here we are, a city strapped for skyscrapers, but rich in American history, as the philistines in city hall, under the guidance of a former professor-mayor and a part-time University at Buffalo adjunct professor, cart away a portion of archeologically-rich Cayuga Island in order to replace it with asphalt.
Where were the local history students, buffs and experts when the Reporter pleaded with the Dyster administration to remove themselves from Cayuga Island and quit their plans for degrading Jayne Park?
That soil is gone and what artifacts and gems of history that were contained within are forever lost.