NIAGARA FALLS —
O’Connor envisions providing audio tapes of local information that would gave tourists information about the local attractions as they rode the shuttles.
“We’re trying to tap into these people who come here for three hours,” O’Connor said. “I look at this as a fundamental change that will increase tourism, visitor stays and bed taxes.”
Percy and other area officials believe that expanding the trolley service to other attractions within the county could extend visitor stays in the region.
“It gives them more opportunity of things to do and they may consider staying another night,” Percy said. “Anytime you provide more to do they are going to stay longer. It will impact the restaurants and other activities.”
Majestic received memorandum from NTCC
O’Connor said she put down a $15,000 deposit to order a new bus and received a memorandum of understanding from the NTCC to provide the service after she first approached Rosenwasser with her proposal. At the time, O’Connor said, the NTCC had expected to give out the contract for the service.
Once the state legislation was passed to dedicate the additional hotel occupancy tax to the shuttle service, however, the city controlled both its funding and the contract for the service.
Rosenwasser has since left the position, but Percy confirmed last week that O’Connor’s company had received the tentative agreement under Rosenwasser. O’Connor has served on NTCC’s board of directors, but does not currently.
Robert Nicholas, president of Over the Falls Tours, said he was concerned about a potential conflict between O’Connor’s work for the NTCC and her proposal to operate the shuttle. O’Connor’s husband is also a county legislator. Nicholas attended the presentation that O’Connor gave to the city’s Tourism Advisory Board last week.