Niagara Gazette

Local News

October 15, 2011

PRESERVATION: From the Queen City to the Cataract City

NIAGARA FALLS — The 2011 National Preservation Conference set for Buffalo this week has added an important dimension to its agenda — a day at Niagara Falls.

Under the plan, those attending the four-day event at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center were offered the option of spending Friday in the Cataract City.

The coordinators said it may mark the first time the national conference has allowed its attendees to devote an entire day away from the host city.

To facilitate that visit, the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp., the regional state parks commission and the city of Niagara Falls have teamed up to provide a number of amenities including a complimentary bus shuttle between downtown Buffalo and the Niagara Falls State Park.

The shuttle will operate every two hours, starting at 8 a.m. from Buffalo with the last bus returning at 11 p.m. The Niagara Gorge Discovery Center will be a reception center and transportation hub for the visitors.

From there they will leave on guided tours running the gamut from a gorge hike to the site of the Schoellkopf Power Plant collapse and a session on the proposed Underground Railroad Interpretive Center to neighborhood revitalization in Niagara Falls and a a walk around the Niagara Reservation designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted.

“We’re very excited that Niagara Falls will have a significant role in this conference,” said Tom Yots of Buffalo, a former city historian for the Falls who has worked on numerous historic preservation projects in Western New York and across the state.

Yots’ wife, Louise, who established an all-volunteer Greeters Program for the NTCC a few years ago, and Bill Bradberry, a former city administrator, helped raise the funds to provide free bus transportation for the conference visitors.

Michael A. Parsnick, who chairs the Niagara Falls Historic Preservation Commission, also has been working on plans for the Falls reception.

“It’s important those at the conference come to see how preservation works here,” Yots said, noting the visitors should also recognize the value of the area’s historic neighborhoods.

On the way to the Falls, the visitors aboard the bus will be welcomed to the Cataract City by Mayor Paul Dyster, whose special video message will tell them how delighted the city is to host the preservationists from all 50 states. He reminds the visitors that it also demonstrates Niagara has much to offer besides the falls themselves.

When returning to Buffalo later in the day, they will hear another message, the mayor thanking them for coming.

Angela Berti, marketing and media specialist for the state parks commission, said the Discovery Center will remain open until 11 p.m. to accommodate the groups. Throughout the day they will have access to refreshments, displays about the gorge and adjacent parklands, and a power point presentation.

A number of the visitors are including lunch at the Top of the Falls Restaurant on Goat Island and, later, an opportunity to view the lights on the falls before returning to Buffalo.

Earlier in the evening, some of the visitors will be guests for a reception at the Tatler Club, the historic mansion of Peter A. Porter (circ. 1876) overlooking the upper river and the eastern end of Goat Island.

Contact reporter Don Glynn at (716) 282-2311, Ext. 2246.

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