Aquarium of Niagara to renovate event space

File photoThe Aquarium of Niagara received approval on Wednesday from the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency for financial help with a planned renovation of the attraction's second-floor event space. 

The Aquarium of Niagara will receive a little help from the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency as they undertake a renovation of their second-story event space. 

On Wednesday, the NCIDA board approved a resolution for the aquarium's request for $16,767 in funding to assist with some of the improvements, according to a project summary from the county's Cataract Tourism Fund, which has already approved the project.

The renovations will cost about $85,000 total, the aquarium said. Once completed, the project is expected to result in the creation of two new full-time jobs.

"The event room renovation will enhance the aquarium’s ability to welcome visitors, school children and local families," said Gary Siddall, Executive Director of the Aquarium of Niagara, in a press release issued Wednesday. "The start of yet another capital improvement project is a clear indication of sustained growth and a new trajectory for the Aquarium of Niagara."

This will be the fourth renovation project the aquarium has undertaken in the last three years, representing $10 million in investments, the release said. 

According to the project summary, the renovations will include the installation of new windows facing the Niagara River Gorge, the installation of new technology, including a projection and audio-visual system, and new cabinetry, tables, chairs and increased storage, queuing and plate-up areas. 

NCIDA Assistant Director Andrea Klyczek said this is the third time they've worked with the Aquarium of Niagara on a remodeling project. Board members said the agency's past experiences working with the aquarium have been positive. 

"I don't know if you've ever been in that room, it's closed in without windows," said NCIDA board member William Ross. "That is a good project...it would really open up that room. They're going to have windows it in, it would really look good."

The Cataract Tourism Fund is a county program designed to promote development in the tourism district in Niagara Falls, specifically within 2 miles of downtown. There is an advisory committee associated with the fund, which assesses projects and makes recommendations to the NCIDA, which then makes the final decision on whether to approve or deny funding requests. 

In addition to the funding announced Wednesday, the project will also be supported via a $40,000 grant from the Western New York Foundation. The aquarium said it is still working to secure funding to cover the remaining 20 percent of the project. 

Construction on the event space is expected take place during the last two weeks of April. 

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