Niagara Gazette — When Baltimore developer David Cordish gave the Rainbow Centre Mall building to Niagara County Community College he said a downtown culinary school could be a "game changer" for the city.
After a media tour this past week, we agree with Cordish.
It's hard to imagine this cutting-edge cooking school not providing an infusion of money and energy into the downtown area.
Hi-tech classrooms and kitchens help train culinary and tourism students for positions in the service industry, which a recent national report showed was the only industry currently showing growth.
The cooking-themed Barnes and Noble bookstore, complete with a demo-station for the students, will entertain tourists and locals, as will the new deli, coffee shop, wine shop and upscale streetside restaurant, all set to be open in the fall. More importantly, the school will keep Old Falls Street cooking with activity, during and after the tourism season.
The institute is a magnificent reminder that good things can happen when people work together.
Leaders at the city, county and state level opened their wallets and pooled their power to create educational opportunities and a culinary destination in a region starving for something to believe in.
Any visitor to the site will see for themselves that this place is a win for Niagara.
NCCC President James Klyczek said at the media tour that he found it hard to believe the culinary institute he'd dreamed about for years was finally a reality. We feel the same. It is a real triumph in an uncertain economy and concrete evidence that what so many say so often about how things can't get done in Niagara Falls isn't always true.
According to Chris Schoepflin, president of the state-run USA Niagara Development Corp., this was a project that required the cooperation and approval of at least eight different entities.