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Parkway Decisions Not Good for City

By Vincent Mameli

Legacy: the skillful liar, Robert Moses, stole our hydro power and stole our tourism, a pretty nifty theft. In doing so, he left our city broke.

Abandon hope (of entering the city of
Niagara Falls) all ye who enter here.

After questionable circumstances, including the collapse of the Schoellkopf Power Plant in 1956, powerful New York State politicians allowed Robert Moses to build a state-controlled power plant to capture Niagara's power, and a highway to capture Niagara's tourism, so that the State of New York, instead of the city, could profit from the abundant natural resources.

The Parkway was equipped with fences blocking every city street that used to adjoin the City of Niagara Falls with the Niagara Falls State Park. Moses' accomplishment of capturing Niagara's potential for the State of New York became Niagara's handicap.

The cost of Niagara's electricity is now among the highest in the nation and the Robert Moses Parkway has effectively hampered tourists from entering the city for over 50 years, economically crippling the City of Niagara Falls while enriching the state park.

As opportunities dwindled, the number of citizens on welfare multiplied. The city experienced a brain drain as experienced and educated local residents moved out of the city in search of better opportunities.

Homes continue to be abandoned and demolished and fewer taxpayers are left to pay the ever escalating taxes.

The population of Niagara Falls is now less than half of what it was before Robert Moses set foot here in the 1950's.
Although an ordinary resident named Mark Zito was able to shame the state into giving Niagara a better deal during the relicensing of the Power Authority’s' 50-year lease, Niagara Falls is still being fleeced.

Efforts to reconnect the city to the state park by disbanding the Parkway is proving to be just as difficult as getting the electricity produced right here in our back yard at a reasonable price.

Many credible and viable ideas to disband the Robert Moses Parkway have been ignored and those with differing opinions have continually been filibustering the facts for years. No forum to separate fact from fiction has ever convened. Now, the facts of the matter don't outweigh the greed of New York State.

The latest shell game of blame puts the fate of the Robert Moses Parkway in the hands of the NYS Parks. They are the same body that made the decision to change the traffic flow on Goat Island because they made a mistake in purchasing costly trolleys without realizing they wouldn’t fit under the Goat Island Bridge.

Goat Island has been transformed from a tourist attraction to a tourist trap. They also contracted a corporation that overcharges our tourists for necessities like water and sells American Indian art craft made in China.

At the table with the NYS Parks is the USA Niagara Development Corp. This agency, an arm of the state, has wasted millions of dollars on state-based signage (ignoring many natural attractions) that was never completed, a 3rd Street revamp that continues to choke the street, and a conference center that isn't a convention center.

Mayor Dyster is also at the secretive Parkway planning table. Dyster plans to regionalize Jayne Park, build a canoe launch in the dangerous waters near the Grand Island bridge and move the historic Steadman House chimney (built in 1750 in connection with the barracks of Fort Little Niagara) from the underdeveloped Porter Park (at the Quay Street exit of the Parkway) to the state park, at the estimated cost of $200,000 of city funds.

And let's not forget the removable docks the mayor established at LaSalle Waterfront Park, eliminating a concession stand that could have given someone a job and kept our public bathrooms maintained at no cost to the city.

What has not been allowed at the Parkway decision table are decades of rational ideas by educated residents that would improve the entire area for everyone. It is increasingly evident that this back door deal is controlled by a secretive state-controlled process that excludes credible, researched public input, including the Environmental Design and Research conclusions about the gorge parkway.



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

Feb 05 , 2013