Niagara Gazette

February 1, 2013

NU joins Higgins on Park Place

Staff reports
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Niagara University is relocating a portion of its Institute for Civic Engagement operations downtown. Within this office, located at 640 Park Place, will be the university's flagship community-based program, ReNU Niagara.

ReNU is a cornerstone of NU's active civic engagement in the community, according to university officials. Through its work with faculty, staff and collaborative partners, ReNU has completed projects addressing urgent community needs and challenges, including the establishment of community vegetable gardens, tax preparation assistance, resident and organizational training (entrepreneurial, business development, fundraising, nonprofit management), and GIS asset mapping.

The move to downtown is intended to further the university's presence in Niagara Falls and to strengthen and enhance the growing number of initiatives aimed at revitalizing the downtown core and the surrounding neighborhoods.

Specifically, the university will be working closely with Niagara Falls officials to implement the LiveNF program, an initiative of the city's Community Development Office intended to attract and retain recent college graduates, which is considered essential to an emerging knowledge-based economy.

"From day one, the goal of LiveNF was to spark interest in Niagara Falls as a place to work, live and invest," said Seth Piccirillo, director of Niagara Falls Community Development. "The success of this program is dependent upon strong partnerships, and Niagara University committing staff and resources to the historic Park Place district is an exciting next step. The city is fortunate to work so closely with Niagara University, and we welcome its staff to Park Place."

ReNU Niagara will be located in the same building as Congressman Brian Higgins.

"Congressman Higgins has quickly demonstrated his intent and desire to unleash the potential of Niagara Falls not only as a destination for tourists but as an economic opportunity for developers," said David Taylor, director of NU's Institute for Civic Engagement. "We look forward to working with his office to improve the quality of life for the residents of Niagara Falls."

Craig Avery, a local developer and the landlord at 640 Park Place, added, "Niagara University's presence in the Niagara Falls community has been growing and this move to Park Place is further evidence of their commitment. With Congressman Brian Higgins located in the same building, and the Niagara Hub next store, I 'worry that the positive vibes in the area may keep the neighbors up at night."