Niagara Gazette

Opinion

July 10, 2013

BRADBERRY: Deja vu all over again?

Niagara Gazette — Once again, our fair city stands at a critical crossroad, at a major intersection where timing and vision offer a unique opportunity to make, or not make a key decision, a position we have found ourselves at more than once before.

Listening a few days ago to the lamentations of a few good ladies and gentlemen about the future growth and development Niagara Falls I was once again reminded of what our city was like when the smoke stacks were billowing with profit, the streets were bustling with shoppers, hundreds of people arriving by train, buses and cars from around the world with pockets full of money that they were eager to spend, and we were eager to honestly earn.

It would not be fair to lay all of the blame for the city’s economic decline at the feet of the men and women who, in their best judgment, honestly believed that they were doing the right thing when, in fact, in retrospect, they were not.

But, here we go again, faced with what looks like more “either, or” decisions about our city; decisions, which in the short term seem clear enough, depending on whose side you’re on, be it the Parkway, Old Falls Street, or whatever; decisions should be made with the long term consequences in mind with everybody who will be effected by those decisions.

Fortunately, there are lessons to be learned from good as well as not so good choices. One group who have examined the development decision making process, Donovan Rypkema, Principal, Real Estate Services Group published their research results in a paper I referred to last year when we were faced with a similar dilemma: Culture, Historic Preservation and Economic Development in the 21st Century September 1999, Yunnan Province, China.

Here’s how they laid it out; some of what follows may serve as a guide for those who are now faced with some of the same questions the city had to deal with before the city met its nemesis, poor vision!

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