Niagara Gazette

Local News

May 14, 2014

Falls council denies downtown concert

Niagara Gazette — Mayor Paul Dyster's push to put on a concert downtown this summer has fallen short.

The Niagara Falls City Council has denied Dyster's request to allocate $40,000 in tourism fund money to put on a concert on Old Falls Street this August in partnership with the Hard Rock Cafe.

Councilman Andrew Touma, who voted no to the measure, said he didn't feel as though he understood where the money would be spent well enough to vote to allocate the funds.

"We don't have any information as to where that $40,000 going to go to," Touma said.

The measure came to a split vote, with Touma and Councilman Glenn Choolokian voting no, Chairman Charles Walker and Councilwoman Kristen Grandinetti voting yes and Councilman Robert Anderson Jr. choosing to abstain.

Several citizens spoke out against the measure during the public comment period of the meeting including Rick Crogan who organized the Niagara Falls Arts and Music Festival last year.

Touma said he would reconsider the measure if there were less money allocated or if other groups that put on concerts in the city were brought to the table.

"We have a lot of people that are putting concerts together that, I think, are getting nothing from the city," Touma said. "So I think we should reach out to them first and see if they have some expenses we can help them with prior to throwing so much towards an event like this."

Walker said the money would be well-spent in that Hard Rock Cafe would supply in kind services — security, marketing — that smaller groups and not-for-profits can't offer the city.

"We don't have anybody with the expertise to hire a professional band and come in," Walker said. "That's where Hard Rock comes in."

The city funds, which are raised through the 5 percent tax added to hotel room bills throughout the county known as the bed tax, would pay for the stage rental and the musical act, according to the resolution from Dyster's office.

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