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Percy Response to Maziarz a Bit Puzzling

By Craig Tretiak

NTCC CEO John Percy's two-page letter to State Sen. George Maziarz, dated Aug. 12, regarding the train station and underground railroad projects, has some troubling passages.

The letter, which appears to have been drafted in response to an Aug. 7 letter from Maziarz, contains responses which either strain credulity or suggest a certain unwillingness to take serious the NTCC’s role in promoting tourism.

Consider the following exchange, which includes both Maziarz’s initial Aug. 7 query and Percy’s Aug. 12 response.

Maziarz: “Can you please state the NTCC’s position on ... spending $40 million of taxpayers’ money on a new train station in the City of Niagara Falls? Is this the best investment we can make to attract and keep tourists here longer? Wouldn’t this type of investment be better directed toward developing family attractions or improving critical infrastructure such as streets, lighting, public safety, etc?”

Percy: “The timing of your letter is apropos. We will ask the committee to discuss the Train Station, other product development, and what if any NTCC’s role would be.”

That response is a real profile in courage.

But of course, he has a position.

Percy hasn’t been shy about talking up Mayor Dyster’s proposed $40 million train station. In a Feb. 13, 2011 Niagara Gazette article written by Nick Mattera—who a short time later was hired by the NTCC - Percy positively gushed:

“John Percy, chief executive officer of the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp. said rail visitors are a growing market, as many travelers are moving away from flying due to tighter security at airports. He added that many visitors to Niagara Falls are coming from foreign countries in Europe and Asia where high speed rail or rail in general is the primary means of transportation.

“We are very cognizant of the possibilities that could come from high speed rail,” Percy was quoted as saying.

Apparently Percy’s cognizance has diminished with time.

The NTCC letter also claims ignorance about controversial tourism projects like the much-ballyhooed Underground Railroad Interpretive Center, after Maziarz sought clarification about $350,000 in casino funds that were sent to the history-rewriting enterprise.

“They have no formal reporting requirement to us and we have no information to respond to your questions,” Percy stated in response to Maziarz’s query.



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

AUG 20, 2013