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It's Only a Shanty in Old Shantytown?

Bad penny Rivers turns up once again

By Frank Parlato

Kristen Grandinetti was" over the moon" for the Holiday Market.

Feel the excitement! These rusting, rotting hulks were, not too very long ago, the centerpiece of Mayor Paul Dyster's much touted Holiday Market. Now they resemble a forlorn shanty town in the middle of the DPW lot where Dyster does not have to look at them.

December 2011; Actually, the Holiday Market shacks did not look much better when the Market was up and running (above) than they do now. Few came to the Market by virtue of the fact that it was shabby and had few products to offer. Kristen Grandinetti and Mayor Pau Dyster put $500,000 of taxpayer money into the hands of Mark Rivers and they got what you see above. This photo was taken when the Market was operational. Note single customer in background. (Photo is courtesy of Alan Bedenko)

Today: A typical shack rotting in the DPW yard represents all that is left of the Dyster-Grandinetti Holiday Market.... Each one of these cost taxpayers $4,000.

No, it is not shantytown.

Sitting in the Niagara Falls DPW yard, these handsome shacks are all that remain of Mayor Paul Dyster's Holiday Market, except, of course, the memories of empty streets and empty vending booths, an undersized Christmas tree, a vacant midget skating rink, concert venues where empty seats outnumbered those filled by a ratio 10 to 1, and of spending almost $500,000 with Idaho promoter Mark Rivers to “develop” this flop.

Promises Rivers made were never delivered. Vendors went unpaid. And neither sales taxes nor parking revenue went up in the city despite Dyster's insistence that the market would be a bonanza for both.

Back in the days leading up to it, Councilwoman Kristen Grandinetti was the most ardent supporter of the festival, next to Dyster, saying at one point she was "over the moon" about the project.

The city spent more than $100,000 on the shacks alone and, as they sit rotting in the DPW yard, it is said that on a moonlit night, if one looks upon the shiny, rusting metal roofs, one can almost see the reflection of Grandinetti's silhouette as it passes gently, elegantly and excitedly across the silver moon, sort of a patron saint for naïve and uninformed elected officials who support using public money for immensely stupid projects, without the skill set to investigate their feasibility, and with no accountability for their dunderheadedness to the voters.

Recently the Niagara Falls Reporter got word that Rivers is now, as president of the Bronson companies, partnering with Hard Rock International and planning to put a casino at the Eastern States Exposition Center in West Springfield Mass.  Hard Rock has proposed plans to build a $700-to-$800 million casino project and Rivers turned up as Hard Rock’s development consultant.

Maybe another shantytown is in the works.




Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

Apr30, 2013