Niagara Gazette

Tourism

September 2, 2007

TOURISM: As the season draws to close, Niagara Falls officials are left wondering what needs fixing

(Continued)

NIAGARA FALLS —

“I asked that the museum’s lights be left on during the night so people walking by can come and see what’s inside,” Bradberry said. “It becomes an attraction even when it’s not open.”

His smile quickly turns into a frown as he passes a bright yellow awning attached to the building at 256 Third St.

“It just looks tacky,” he said.

City officials are hoping not to duplicate that type of appearance with the newly reconstructed stretch of Old Falls Street, also known as the East Pedestrian Mall. The recent $3.2 million state investment — using a share of casino revenue — polished up the block between Third and First streets with new sidewalks, lamp posts, landscaping and a cobblestone road.

A month after the ribbon was cut, however, the stretch hasn’t exactly attracted crowds of people yet. During the lunch-time tour on Thursday, only a handful were walking through the pedestrian mall.

“I remember when this street was so vibrant — it wasn’t uncommon to have tens of thousands of people walking around on any given day,” Bradberry said, shaking his head. “Things have changed obviously.”

Still, even the most pessimistic of observers would admit the reconstruction project will benefit the downtown area. If managed correctly — Joseph Anderson maintains exclusive vendor rights for the East Pedestrian Mall — the street will eventually relive its glory years, Bradberry believes. But first, he’s hoping Anderson and the city can agree to a set of regulations that will maximize Old Falls Street’s beauty.

“We need to establish a set of design standards,” Bradberry said, pointing to a yellow hut near the street’s entrance that is blocking a portion of Starbucks Coffee. “We need to be aware of things like that. I am hoping this time around we learn from our past mistakes.”

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