Niagara Gazette —
Vinny Jowdy, the project manager on the site for LP Ciminelli, said his crews have been working intently, sometimes 24 hours a day, for the past 10 months to ensure that the facility would be prepared to store the Maid's boats and docks before winter.
It was "very rewarding" to see the first boat resting on blocks on the 25-foot thick concrete pad built by his crew on Thursday, Jowdy said.
"It's not only rewarding for myself and our company, but all the people who are involved," he added.
In addition to the dry dock, the contractors will construct a maintenance building and will restore a historic elevator shaft from the power plant.
Those renovations should be complete by next summer, according to Jowdy.
"Right now we're working 20 hours a day because there's other tasks that we're working on, even though this was a big milestone," he said.
The 78-foot-tall marine crane was delivered in mid-September, coming in parts from Germany and England, passing through Canada before coming over the Peace Bridge in Buffalo.
The hulking, 157 ton crane took about a month to lower into the gorge and assemble.
Mayor Paul Dyster, who has hiked and fished in the gorge since he was a child, said the day brought a sense of "elation and relief" to the Glynn family and the many people who view the Maid as an icon of Niagara Falls.
"What was unique about this project was that it had a real deadline," Dyster said.
Dyster, said that some of the groups that raised concerns earlier this year will now be able to focus on the best way to celebrate the history of the site.
"The focus, up until today, was creating a place where they can successfully take the boats out of the water," Dyster said. "The focus going forward from today is going to be on how we can get the maximum value from the site in the future."
Dyster said piecing together the natural, economic and environmental histories of the gorge, the power station and the Maid of the Mist will be challenging.
"I think at the end of the day what we're going to end up with here is something that serves a very practical purpose, but that also is going to become a focus now for our tourism industry," Dyster said.
Contact reporter Justin Sondel at 282-2311, ext. 2257