Niagara Gazette —
Mayor Paul Dyster is working on a deal that would keep Old Falls Street operations in the hands of the state.
The city council voted unanimously to approve a resolution submitted by Dyster giving him the authority to execute a deal with USA Niagara Development Corp. that would keep Old Falls Street under the watch of the agency through 2013 without any financial contribution from the city at Wednesday's council meeting.
The council voted to end the city's agreement with USA Niagara at the end of 2012 and to keep the $3.1 million in state aid that has been passed through to the agency for the past 10 years during the 2013 budget process, which was greatly complicated by the ongoing dispute between New York state and the Seneca Nation of Indians over gaming rights. The city has not received host community payments guaranteed in the 2002 gaming compact between the state and the Senecas since 2009.
Dyster said USA Niagara's willingness to work with the city through difficult financial times is evidence of a strong partnership.
"We don't want to have a situation where we leave a vacuum in the management of Old Falls Street," Dyster said. "Their willingness to take this on absent of funding I think is just very helpful during a very difficult time."
Dyster said the state does not need a contract with the city to run the Conference and Event Center Niagara Falls and to perform its normal economic development functions.
"The agreement that is being contemplated here, we are going to try to formulate very narrowly just to deal with Old Falls Street," Dyster said.
USA Niagara and Global Spectrum, the private company contracted by the state agency to provide programming and run the day-to day-operations on Old Falls Street and in the Conference and Event Center Niagara Falls, will continue to fulfill those duties, Dyster said.