Niagara Gazette

Bill Bradberry

October 19, 2006

BRADBERRY: Niagara Falls needs a plan

Back Home with Bill Bradberry

I don’t want to sound like I’m raining on anyone’s parade, but I think I’ll have to reserve judgment on the proposed design of the new courthouse and police station until I get a closer look at the impact the glass and stone and 62-foot concrete columns will have on the rest of north Main Street and the city’s image as a whole.

It could be a good thing, BUT ...

From all I’ve seen so far, the project totally ignores the buildings and the rest of Main Street. It’s not too late to incorporate some of the best features of the existing heritage building stock into the design, perhaps by reusing some of the materials from the beautiful old structures that will be demolished to make way for the behemoth.

In fact, I’d prefer to see the best of the old buildings incorporated into the design instead of seeing them demolished.

Located between South and Cleveland avenues, the massive 126,000 square foot, $42 million Municipal Public Safety Complex would be a welcome boost for the long abandoned, former grand commercial corridor in almost any form, but with a little planning, it could go a long way toward tying the rest of the North End together.

Much of the real beauty of the older buildings that remain there is disguised by their shabby looking first-floor facades. Don’t be fooled; there are some real gems on Main Street.

Fortunately, developer Dick Hastings and others have taken on a good number of them, purchasing and boarding up many to keep them from deteriorating any further and investing tons of their own money to salvage and rehab others.

For the most part, they have the greatest respect for the preservation of the buildings and what they mean to the community, but I fear the new courthouse may have an adverse impact on what they are attempting to do to convert and reuse the historic buildings in their mission to reinforce North Main Street as a special place.

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Bill Bradberry
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  • NIA Bradberry, Bill mug BRADBERRY: Really good summer reading, still great after all these years I am always impressed by the power of the pen, or, in today's parlance; the keyboard. Words can bring joy; they can also bring sorrow; they can bring life, they can be deadly, and they can bring justice which can often deliver neither joy nor sorrow.

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  • NIA Bradberry, Bill mug BRADBERRY: Happy 50th birthday, Civil Rights Act of 1964 It was just another early summer day, a Thursday, so dinner was probably Mom's exquisite meatloaf served up with healthy helpings of her home grown canned green beans and delicious hand peeled potatoes with hot corn bread, and for desert, a tall, thick slice of hot apple pie with vanilla ice cream and Dad's delicious homemade lemonade.

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  • NIA Bradberry, Bill mug BRADBERRY: The more things change the more they ... French journalist and novelist, Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr (1808-1890) is often credited with coining the phrase, "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose", translated, "The more things change, the more they remain the same", a fitting description for the most recent disappointing news from the New York Education Commissioner about the sad state of affairs generally with New York boasting a slight rise to a 74.9 percent graduation rate while Niagara Falls remains stuck closer to the bottom at 63.1 percent with neighbors Buffalo at 53.4 and Rochester a distant last place at 43 percent.

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  • NIA Bradberry, Bill mug BRADBERRY: Former residents wish for good old days Like so many of the good friends I have come to know and love, or not over my lifetime, Mary and Walter Karwasinski lived most of their lives in the little universe where I grew up in Niagara Falls, but we did not get to know each other until we met in Florida way back in 2006 when I originally penned this piece.

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  • NIA Bradberry, Bill mug BRADBERRY: God put a rainbow in the sky "It's time to recognize the power of the Underground Railroad's brilliant legacy" pronounced Maya Angelou at the opening of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati 10 years ago in 2004. But my dear friend and colleague, the late Carol Murphy, as usual, was way ahead of the call ...

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  • NIA Bradberry, Bill mug BRADBERRY: Another look at the case for reparations

    When a few of my closest friends began forwarding the same link to me one day last week, I decided to skip past the long chronological line of mostly aggravating product solicitations and fake get rich-quick-scheme email messages piled up on my computer and read what so many were pointing me toward, an in-depth examination by “The Atlantic” ( writer, Ta-Nehisi Coates of the issue of compensation to the African American descendants of slavery in the form of “reparations.”

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  • NIA Bradberry, Bill mug BRADBERRY: Digging up the past, uncovering the future I just happened to be paging through Daniel L. Davis's new book "The Life and Times of Suspension Bridge Village," Dan's latest attempt to "help revive the glory that was once…the North End", when I received a message from Lewis F. Buttery, Jr. ( announcing the formation of B-R-I-N-K, (Buttery Research Initiative Niagara Knowledge) Lewis's, attempt to preserve and share his family's role in the development of Niagara Falls as one of the world's iconic tourist destinations.

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  • NIA Bradberry, Bill mug BRADBERRY: Weather, whether we like it or not One of the many consequences of this year's extended winter weather has been the relatively late start of spring and our annual spring cleaning ritual. Having been delayed by weather's other priorities, like too much rain, I really can't blame it all on Mother Nature, procrastination may have a little something to do with the late start.

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