Cuomo’s State Park “Lodge” a Mockery of Olmsted plan

Behold the Niagara Lodge (on right). Described as having "breathtaking views of the Falls and State Park" can only mean that the new hotel is slated for Goat Island, not DeVeaux, Whirlpool or Devil's Hole State Parks.

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s controversial proposed “lodge” on Goat Island in the Niagara Falls State Park has been scaled up in size, according to design sketches posted by USA Niagara this week.

USA Niagara is a subsidiary of Empire State Development, the state development agency charged with “encouraging growth and renewal of the tourism industry in the City of Niagara Falls,” according to its mission statement.

According to, a website maintained by USA Niagara, and updated recently with this new information, “The lodge will feature three stories of guest accommodations, 250 rooms in total, with a wraparound veranda offering breathtaking views of the Falls and State Park… Additional features of the lodge include an elegant main dining hall, smaller private dining rooms and a family health spa with a swimming pool and ‘green roof.”

At 250 rooms, the lodge is far larger than what Governor Cuomo and USA Niagara president Christopher J. Schoepflin have told the public recently.


Schoepflin said, “The lodge the governor envisions would have 75 to 100 rooms – ‘a very boutique property.'”

Behold the Niagara Lodge (on right). Described as having "breathtaking views of the Falls and State Park" can only mean that the new hotel is slated for Goat Island, not DeVeaux, Whirlpool or Devil's Hole State Parks.
Behold the Niagara Lodge (on right). Described as having “breathtaking views of the Falls and State Park” can only mean that the new hotel is slated for Goat Island, not DeVeaux, Whirlpool or Devil’s Hole State Parks.

The news of a 100-room lodge on Goat Island caused an outcry of opposition decrying it as not in keeping with Olmsted’s plans.

The first mention of plans for a lodge on Goat Island came in a never-acted-on, 2014 USA Niagara Development Corp. Request for Proposals (RFP) which called for developers to consider proposing retrofitting the small, historic Calvert Vaux Carriage House on Goat Island into a “small inn.”

If built on Goat Island, it would be the first overnight accommodations ever developed in the Niagara Falls State Park, and a plan that was specifically opposed by Frederick Law Olmsted who designed the park and whose name is invoked in the state’s advertisements for the park.

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  1. the minute they built the “top of the falls” restaurant was the minute the niagara falls reservation no longer could be considered an “olmsted park”. olmsted’s definitely turning over in his grave. would this happen in delaware park or central park. ABSOLUTELY NOT! it’s a mockery, plain & simple. the state has destroyed the three sisters islands, with those ugly chicken wire fences, not to mention that the 2 viewing “platforms” the state has provided for an upclose view of the rapids ARE NOT HANDICAPPED ACCESSIBLE—they put in stairs, but NO RAMPS. what a bunch of morons. disgraceful!

  2. Time for a new governor. Absolutely unacceptable that ANY hotel be built in the park. Can’t support any politician who supports the idea. Ruin the park and direct more dollars away from the city. Backs will be scratched and select people will be making money from contracts, at the cost of the park and everyone else. Wasn’t enough to ruin the Three Sisters Islands (with another corrupt deal to boot — tender was so specific that there was no real competition). This is the last straw. Cuomo and politicians supporting this need to go.

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