By Christopher Glynn
Niagara Gazette — Since taking office, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has talked about building a new New York.
“New Yorkers can now look at Albany and see progress on historic initiatives, action on issues that have been left unresolved for decade and a legislative session that delivered results,” he said. “New Yorkers can have a renewed sense of pride and confidence in their state government.”
That was clearly evident on Dec. 4 when the governor appeared at the Niagara Discovery Center to sign a multilateral agreement that will allow the Maid of the Mist to continue to navigate the waters of the Lower Niagara for generations to come. This agreement saved the Maid of the Mist and was made possible by the visionary leadership of Governor Cuomo.
The Maid of Mist has a storied history that dates back to 1846. Our family has operated the company since 1971 and we’ve always tried to do it in a way that respected tradition. Unfortunately, our ability to do that was jeopardized by an international process that was very unusual, to say the least. But now, the Maid has a bright future thanks to the governor. He thought it was important for a local, family owned company to continue in operate its business in Niagara Falls.
A memorandum of understanding with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the New York Power Authority and the Maid of the Mist will lead to our $32 million investment at the Schoellkopf site, where will soon construct a drydock facility, allowing us to dock our boats during the winter in New York. We’ll also build a maintenance building, install a new elevator within an existing shaft at the site, enhance access to existing hiking trails near the site and explore the potential for rock climbing and rappelling along the foundation wall of the former Schoellkopf plant.
We also plan to make improvements to our boats, offer online ticketing, development of a smartphone app and renovate bathrooms, all steps that will further improve the iconic Maid of the Mist experience.
Our license payments to State Parks will increase to $105 million over 30 years, tripling the amount New York will receive from the Maid of the Mist.
The Glynn family has been associated with the Maid of the Mist for 60 years, and our passion for bringing the experience of the power and grandeur of Niagara Falls to millions of people around the world is stronger than ever. The agreement will allow us to continue these unparalleled boat tours in the years ahead while contributing additional benefits for the residents of Niagara Falls and Western New York.
Governor Cuomo described the Maid of the Mist boat tours as “a signature tourism attraction of Western New York,” He and his staff saw an opportunity to both preserve and enhance tradition at the Falls. Our company is proud to be associated with this effort, something that would not have happened without the governor.
Christopher Glynn is president of the Maid of the Mist Corporation.Christopher Glynn is president of the Maid of the Mist Corporation