LISTENING IN: Three members of the Falls City Council as well as Police Superintendent Tom Licata and Niagara County District Attorney Caroline Wojtaszek sat in front of about 50 city residents this past week at True Bethel Baptist Church on South Avenue to answer resident questions. As you might expect, most of the night was spent talking about a spring-time uptick in violent crime. Kudos to these local officials for making an effort to meet with members of the community and listen to their concerns and ideas for a safer city. We also tip our hat tot he roughly four dozen Falls residents who made it a point to attend the meeting. Hopefully some good came out of the forum — hosted by the Niagara Falls Peacemakers and we’ll see some kind of impact in the coming weeks.
NEW LIFE: The former Fairchild Manor nursing home in Lewiston has now officially opened as 765 Fairchild Place — an upscale apartment and townhouse complex that will offer 29 units for lease. We imagine the property will draw a lot of interest, considering its proximity to Center Street and all that the village hast to offer. In any event, it’s great to see the property transformed.
SAD STATE OF COMMUNICATION: We’re already on the record about our disappointment in the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation’s decision to close the Old Falls Street entrance to Niagara Falls State Park for the majority of this year’s heavy tourist season. In some ways, it’s even more disappointing that Mark Mistretta, director of state parks’ Western District never reached out to local business entities in the Falls to let them know it was going to happen. “I was remiss in not communicating better, that’s on me. We could have done a better job to warn the community,” he said this past week while at a meeting with members of the Downtown Niagara Falls Business Association at the Hyatt Place Hotel. We’ll say. Adding to the layers of disappointment was word that state officials would not be able to find a way to open the entrance prior to July 4 — and was stated in an a release sent out to news agencies on Tuesday. That will not happen, Mistretta said, calling the target date a “misconception.”
VIOLENCE ESCALATED: It’s certainly troubling that one of the most recent incidents of gun violence in the city was so near the downtown tourism area. Three people suffered wounds in a shooting incident at Fourth and Niagara streets early Saturday morning. As is often the case, we’re also troubled with the lack of cooperation with police investigating the matter. Officials said they hadn’t gotten much help from the witnesses — or the victims — in the incident. Mayor Paul Dyster, who fielded questions about the incident on Saturday, encouraged individuals with information about the shooting to call the main desk at the Niagara Falls Police Department at 286-4711 or the anonymous tip line at 286-4591.