Niagara Gazette

Opinion

February 25, 2013

CITY DESK: Rip it and leave it

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — Chances are visitors from other parts of the country and even the world, especially those from bigger cities, have skyscrapers and high-rises back home. The ones who come from distant lands (I'm not talking regional casino-goers here) have a vision of the Falls before they arrive.

Their experiences with the waterfall itself — be it at the state park or on the Maid of the Mist boat ride or whatever — shape their memories and serve as our best form of advertising to their friends and family members back home. 

They don't come to see four-lane highways. They don't come to sit in hotels. Seen one casino, seen 'em all. 

The Falls? Now that's a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience. The Niagara Gorge — done right — can be the sort of oasis from the real world visitors from faster-paced communities crave. 

Visited Buffalo lately? 

The city's new-look waterfront is a vast improvement over what's been there for years, and it's only going to get better. It started with improved access, a willingness to open up the land nearest to the water to the people who were just aching to use it. 

Development — including proposals by Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula and developer Carl Paladino — are now beginning to follow, where they belong, more inland.

As anyone can plainly see in Niagara Falls, there's no shortage of vacant property downtown. In some areas, it's like pulling into an amusement park only to find all the rides have been closed for repairs: Plenty of space, no waiting. 

That's where our building should be done — in the city's interior, away from the state park and the river's edge. 

You don't have to go far. The space owned by one developer in particular — Niagara Falls Redevelopment's Howard Milstein —comes immediately to mind. Other parcels exist as well, especially along Main Street.

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