Niagara Gazette

Local News

June 23, 2014

City council ready to oppose parks police barracks plan

Niagara Gazette — City lawmakers may soon add their names to the list of local, state and federal officials who are opposing plans to build a new state parks police station near the Niagara Gorge. 

Council Chairman Charles Walker has sponsored a resolution calling on the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to “consider alternative locations” for the controversial project. 

The resolution, which is expected to be considered by the full council today, argues that the proposed location, behind 454 Main St., “would not represent the best use” of the property. It also suggests the project would not fit with the city’s efforts to “protect” its waterfront and “ensure that city residents benefit from” the waterfront’s “unparalleled natural beauty.”

Councilwoman Kristen Grandinetti said she fully supports Walker’s resolution.

Grandinetti heard from members of the Niagara Falls Tourism Advisory Board on the matter a few weeks ago and has been working with the group and other lawmakers to ensure that the station construction is halted, she added.

“We’ve worked for over 15 years to try to get people to pay attention to the beauty of our waterfront,” Grandinetti said.

The city and state are moving in the right direction on the gorge-front land with plans to reconfigure sections of the Robert Moses Parkway, but building the barracks so close to the river would be a step back from that progress, Grandinetti said.

“It’s unacceptable,” she added.

In the wake of the criticism last week, state parks officials announced plans to temporarily suspend work on the project pending additional review.

Grandinetti said she is glad that state parks in now listening to the many citizens and civic leaders that have voiced their opposition to the plan.

“I’m so, so proud of the people of Niagara Falls that are standing up,” she said. “It just goes to show that if you give people information and they decide what they want that they can stand up and ask for what they need.”

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