Niagara Gazette

Columns

July 14, 2014

CITY DESK: Out-Tesla'd in Niagara Falls

Darn it. 

The idea hit me only a couple of weeks ago and now some folks in Long Island who are ahead of us in the game are taking advantage of the very thing I thought Niagara Falls may be able to latch onto. 

I’m talking about word last week that Elon Musk, entrepreneur extraordinaire and owner of the Tesla Motors electric car company, has agreed to donate $1 million in support of plans for a Nikola Tesla-based museum on Long Island. 

A couple of weeks ago in this very space I thought out loud about the possibility of Musk doing something similar here. 

A lot of city residents have long believed Tesla’s namesake would make for a great museum or attraction in Niagara Falls. As has been in the news lately, Musk recently agreed to invest in a large solar panel manufacturing project in Buffalo, meaning he will soon be bringing his name, his reputation and, yes, his money to the Western New York area. 

Musk named his car company after Tesla and now, as was shown by his generous donation last week, he’s lending his cash to a plan that will allow one of Tesla’s old laboratory sites in Long Island to be preserved for future generations. 

Dare I say it? That should have been Niagara Falls. 

Mayor Paul Dyster seems to think there’s still an opportunity for the Falls to get Musk interested in another Tesla-based venture right here, the very place where alternating current generators, developed based on Tesla’s work, began operating at the Adams Power Plant Transformer House, a structure built in 1895 that is still standing on Buffalo Avenue. 

Maybe so. 

Or, better, the community certainly should hope so. 

As I said in my earlier piece about this same subject, Musk has demonstrated himself to be a real risk taker. One of his other companies, SpaceX, designs, manufacturers and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft. He’s a bit like Tesla in that regard — dreaming big and having the ingenuity and dedication needed to bring the dreams to reality. 

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