Niagara Gazette

Local News

August 29, 2013

Judge rules in Maid of the Mist's favor, Hornblower legal challenge dismissed


Officials from Hornblower could not be reached for comment Thursday evening. 

Gwitt said Hornblower's attorneys have 30 days to decide if they want to appeal. For now, Gwitt said, the decision clears the way for work to continue on the Maid's storage facility, which is currently under construction on the former site of the old Schoellkopf power station. If all goes as planned, Gwitt said the company will have its facility completed in time to allow for its boats to be removed from the water before winter. 

"Everything is expected to be in place before fall," Gwitt said. 

Completion of the project would allow Maid of the Mist boats, which have been ferrying passengers along the lower Niagara River since 1846, to continue their trips next year, and beyond. At least one legal challenge remains as the Niagara Preservation Coalition, a local group that maintains state and federal agencies failed to protect the integrity of the historic Schoellkopf site by allowing the Maid's project to move forward, is asking a federal judge to intervene on its behalf. The group filed the federal lawsuit after having several similar cases dismissed at the state level. A temporary restraining order that temporarily halted the construction project was lifted on procedural grounds in state supreme court in April. 

The coalition also filed a request for a preliminary injunction in June after members of the group took pictures of steel girders from the site being loaded into bins destined for the scrap yard. A panel of judges in the state supreme court’s appellate division denied that request.

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