Niagara Gazette — Niagara University senior Joseph Hotchkiss will soon receive his second award based on his ongoing efforts to transform Hydraulic Park, located on the corner of Niagara and Third streets in Niagara Falls.
Hotchkiss, a business management major from Binghamton, received a member award from the Niagara Beautification Commission recently for his cleanup project at the park, and will be honored with the Main Street Business & Professional Association on Nov. 15.
Hotchkiss first happened upon Hydraulic Park before work one day in April. “I was walking down Third St. and just happened to stumble upon the park. I instantly saw the potential and wanted to know its past. It looked like, at one time, a really cool park.”
Hydraulic Park was once the site of a portion of a canal system constructed in the 1860s by the Niagara Falls Hydraulic Power and Manufacturing Company, the first company to generate electricity from Niagara Falls. Several decades later, after the canal had been filled in, Hydraulic Park was built on the land. The area, where a community fountain once stood, eventually fell into disrepair.
Hotchkiss was initially inspired to begin working on this project when he began working with Professor Mitch Alegre in one of his business classes, Transforming Business. “Through that class, we really learned the value of helping out your surrounding community.”
After also learning of the rich history of the area, Hotchkiss soon realized that cleaning up the park was not the only thing in need of repair, but people’s view of the park and Niagara Falls in general needed restoration, too.
“I work at a restaurant on Third St. and my biggest complaint from tourists is that the city looks abandoned. I thought that fixing up this park would help get the community excited to change this complaint.