There’s no shortage of complaints about the condition of the City of Niagara Falls and you don’t have to wait too long before someone offers an opinion on how to fix all that ails the community. 

While some of those complaints and some of those solutions may indeed be valid, it’s rare when there’s an opportunity for them to be presented in a constructive manner that could ultimately lead to some things getting fixed around here. 

Those of you out there who aren’t shy about voicing your complaints to no one in particular or who think you have ideas for straightening out some of the city’s mess, there’s an event happening today, and continuing over the course of a total of six weeks, that will give you — yes, you — the chance to get more involved. 

The six-week series, “Imagining a More Livable Niagara Falls – Exploring Solutions for the Future of the City,” was initiated by a group of local activists and the New York State Chapter of the Congress for the New Urbanism (Partners for a Livable Western New York - Western Region of CNU-New York). It will be presented on consecutive Thursday evenings beginning today. The program is designed to focus on the built environment and livability of the city.

All programs are free to attend and will be held at 6 p.m. at the Niagara Falls Train Station, 825 Depot Ave. Some programs will be preceded by late afternoon walking tours or visits to development sites.

The more than 30 confirmed participants include Michael Lydon of Street Plans Collaborative and co-author of “Tactical Urbanism,” Rob Steuteville, editor of the “Public Square” journal and author of “25 Ideas of the New Urbanism,” and Lynn Richards, president and chief operating officer of the Congress for the New Urbanism.

Tonight’s opening session is designed to identify the major issues confronting the city’s built environment and will include a presentation by Jeff Belt, co-chair of the Western New York Economic Development Council, followed by a panel discussion. Subsequent programs will feature presentations and panel discussions on issues including mobility, housing, place-making, and the relationship between government and developers.

Attendees will have an opportunity to ask presenters and panelists questions at each session.

The final program on June 6 will be a community conversation about the future of the city. The Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., Niagara University president, will be the keynote speaker. 

If you would like more information about the event, contact George Grasser at or by phone at 480-4970, or Tom Lowe at

If you are one of those people — and there are a lot of them — who has concerns about the direction of the City of Niagara Falls, then now is the time to attend one or all of the upcoming sessions and get involved in a discussion that will, hopefully, bring about the right kind of change in this community.

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