Niagara Gazette


February 26, 2014

With casino cash in place, work U.S. Custom House is on track

With casino cash in place, work U.S. Custom House is on track


Niagara Gazette — “I think that our committee, while we didn’t have a great number of people showing up to the meetings and that, the people that did show up for the meetings were focused on the management plan, the future of the interpretive center and this walking tour that can get things started,” Onesi said.

Onesi said he can understand that people might wonder what the commission has been doing, being that there has been a delay in the actual capital improvements at the Customs House.

But the group has been doing what it can to make certain that they would be prepared to act quickly when the casino revenues were released, he said.

“All along we’ve had the contractor working on what types of displays, what should the displays have in them,” Onesi said. “What kind of story do we want to tell somebody that walks into the Customs House about the Underground Railroad in Niagara Falls?”

Onesi said the important thing for the committee going forward will be to make certain that the management plan is implemented, and that it doesn’t end up another document collecting dust in storage.

“It’s really nice to have a management plan and most commissions get one, they put it on a shelf and you don’t always see the fruits of it,” Onesi said. “I think once that interpretive center is there the naysayers are going to say, ‘oh, well they really were doing something.’”

Onesi said, as with any organization, there have been a few glitches, most of them related to their lack of casino revenues.

But, the experience has been a positive one for Onesi and he sees a bright future for heritage tourism in the Falls, he said.

“I haven’t been disappointed.”

Contact reporter Justin Sondel at 282-2311, ext. 2257

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