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NIAGARA FAMILY ECO-PARK. May 3, 2001. April 18, 2001. PREPARED BY: RYAN A. MCPHERSON PETER M. O’HARA BRIAN KULPA. Overview. Niagara Family Eco-Park Vision Current and Past Conditions The Niagara Family Eco-Park Alternative Future Benefits and Consequences of the Eco-Park

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niagara family eco park


May 3, 2001

April 18, 2001





  • Niagara Family Eco-Park Vision
  • Current and Past Conditions
  • The Niagara Family Eco-Park Alternative Future
  • Benefits and Consequences of the Eco-Park
  • Implementation Strategy
  • Consequences of Other Scenarios

We propose to develop a new comprehensive Eco-Park strategy that allows families to discover the important relationship that exists between nature, the environment, and themselves.

why the eco park is good for families
Why the Eco-Park is Good for Families
  • Comprehensive learning environment for families of all ages
  • Recreational opportunities for everyone
  • Gorge Greenway unifies the many venues throughout Niagara Falls
  • Demonstrates awareness of our environment through family friendly interactive venues
past and current conditions in niagara falls new york
Past and Current Conditions In Niagara Falls, New York
  • Ecology and the Environment
  • Economy
  • Stakeholders
  • Niagara Falls: 50 Years Later
  • Conclusion
ecology and the environment
Ecology and the Environment
  • Chemical Row
    • Many manufacturing industries in and around Niagara Falls
    • Current hazardous waste remediation (Superfund) ongoing
    • Love Canal: positive and negative results
  • Niagara Reservation State Park
    • Oldest park in New York State
    • Robert Moses Parkway: obstacle between city and Park
      • Summer 2001: two year impact study
  • Why is Niagara Falls Attractive To Companies?
    • Access to hydropower and freshwater resources
      • high cost of conducting business
  • Manufacturing industries
    • Largest users of Niagara hydropower
    • Historically dominated Niagara Falls region
  • Service industries
    • Largest economic sector in Niagara region today
    • Information technology emphasis in region
  • Tourism industry
    • 1995 study: $549 million
niagara falls stakeholders
Governmental Players

Governor Pataki, Niagara Falls City Counsel and Mayor Elia, US Senators Schumer and Clinton, Representative LaFalce, State Senator Maziarz, Assemblywoman Delmonte and many others

Major Stakeholders

- New York Power Authority

- Residents of Niagara Falls and the region

- Niagara County; Erie County

- Niagara University and SUNY at Buffalo

- Tuscarora Nation

- Niagara County Stakeholders Committee; Niagara Power Coalition; Relicensing Consensus Committee

- Other environmental and recreational organizations

Niagara Falls Stakeholders
niagara falls 50 years later
Niagara Falls: 50 Years Later
  • 2000 Census
    • Niagara Falls: down 10.1%
  • Taxes
    • 46% of Niagara Falls’ property is non-taxable
    • Lewiston also severely impacted by non-taxable land
      • Less funding for educational, government and social services
  • A Tale of Two Niagara Falls
    • Booming economy in Canada v. depressed downtown in New York
  • Thus, the current conditions of Niagara Falls are due to:
    • Poor infrastructure
    • Changing economic conditions
    • Failure of economic development proposals
    • Declining population
    • Lack of private land ownership
  • Fortunately, Niagara Falls is still regarded as a tourist destination for families. This positive factor is the main reason why the Eco-Park proposal will be successful.
niagara family eco park alternative future
The Gorge Greenway

Love Canal Education/Interpretation Center

Upper River Interpretive Trail

Enhanced Niagara State Park Reservation

Eco-Renewable Housing

Niagara Gorge Hiking Trail & Discovery Center

Renewable Energy Learning & Instruction Center

Environmentally Augmented Artpark

Niagara Family Eco-Park Alternative Future

Enhanced Niagara State Park

Photos courtesy of New York State Parks and Historic Preservation


Environmentally Enhanced Artpark

Griffis Sculpture Park photos courtesy of Barry Boyer

the eco park
The Eco-Park

People (and families) come to Niagara Falls “to be astonished and for the enjoyment of the beauty to be found in the natural scenery”

  • Frederick Law Olmsted

Olmsted’s vision is still alive today. The Eco-Park is inherently eco-centric as it provides a vehicle allowing families to explore the interaction between the natural environment and technology.

eco park benefits
Improve Quality of Life





Economic Development


Downtown Niagara Falls

Consensus Builder

Relicensing Process

Eco-Park Benefits
eco park consequences
Eco-Park Consequences
  • New York Power Authority
    • Gorge Greenway: access to land, funding and operation
  • Weather
    • Many exhibits and features are outdoors-based
  • Robert Moses Parkway
    • Loss of roadway alongside gorge
eco park implementation strategy
Eco-Park Implementation Strategy
  • Phase I
    • Building Initial Support Among Stakeholders
  • Phase II
    • Stakeholders and the Power Authority’s Alternative Relicensing Process
  • Phase III
    • Implementation of the specific Eco-Park Projects
eco park implementation dual tracked strategy
Eco-Park Implementation:Dual Tracked Strategy
  • Relicensing
  • WNY as a Political swing region
phase i building support among stakeholders
Phase I--Building Support Among Stakeholders
  • Identification of stakeholders
  • Meet with various stakeholders:
    • Easy converts
    • Possible supporters
    • Challenging constituencies
  • Form a nonprofit or association to advocate for successful implementation of the Eco-Park
phase ii building consensus for relicensing
Phase II--Building Consensus for Relicensing
  • “United we stand, divided we fall” approach for alternative relicensing process
  • Develop consensus that Eco-Park proposal should be the primary “ask” during relicensing
    • Economic Development
    • Environmental Protection
    • Recreation/Quality of life
phase iii specific projects
Phase III--Specific Projects
  • Federal legislation specifically requires recreational and environmental factors be taken into account
  • The Family Eco-Park’s focus on recreation and environmental awareness provides an effective “trump card” that can be used to to successfully implement the Niagara Family Eco-Park
gorge greenway
Gorge Greenway
  • Propose Power Authority construct and operate Gorge Greenway
    • 1957 Federal Niagara Power Development Act guided Authority to develop $93 Million (2001 dollars) scenic park (Rob’t Moses Pkwy) as condition of licensing, the same precedent should apply for the Gorge Greenway
  • Creation of commission to oversee implementation of proposal
love canal education center
Love Canal Education Center
  • Independent from relicensing process
  • Lobbying strategy to persuade governor to mandate that DEC take title of property and provide half of construction costs
  • Love Canal 2000 would raise matching funds to build facility and operate educational center once operational
upper river interpretive trail
Upper River Interpretive Trail
  • Relicensing process will provide the opportunity to leverage Power Authority funding for several interpretative kiosks and pavilions along the upper river
  • NYSDOT to identify funds for traffic rerouting
  • Funds for redevelopment of brownfield (parking lot) obtained through the 1996 NYS Bond Act
enhanced niagara state park reservation
$500,000 for “Olmstedizing” Park

$400,000 to renovate the historic Goat Island horse barn

$50,000 for directional and interpretive signage

$30,000 to reduce traffic at the park

Enhanced Niagara State Park Reservation

Funding for several improvements and renovations has already been allocated or secured for the State Park over the last year including:

eco renewable housing
Eco-Renewable Housing
  • As part of relicensing Power Authority will “gift” a small parcel of land to USA Niagara Development Corp (NDC)
    • By proactively returning a small piece of land to tax rolls, the Power Authority will avert a full fledged assault for PILOTs
  • NDC will then select developer that specializes in green design by offering tax incentives and loan reductions
niagara gorge hiking trail discovery center
On October 4, 2000 the Power Authority committed $1.5 million to building the Discovery Center

One year ago Governor Pataki announced $300,000 of direct state aid for the trail

Shortly thereafter an additional $895,000 was committed for the project

Niagara Gorge Hiking Trail & Discovery Center

Discovery Center

Niagara Gorge Trail

renewable energy learning instruction center
Renewable Energy Learning & Instruction Center
  • No other institution has been as adversely impacted by the Power Authority as Niagara University
  • The Eco-Park plan proposes merging both the reparation owed to NU with the Power Authority and NYSERDA’s strengths and expertise in alternative energy development
environmentally enhanced artpark
Environmentally Enhanced Artpark
  • Power Authority was never mandated to complete an EIS when it ripped out a large portion of the gorge and dumped it at Artpark
  • While the environmental degradation caused by Power Authority can not be undone restitution can be provided
  • This restitution will form a Eco-Art endowment fund, which would be used to expand the arts and environment theme at the park
other scenarios
No Other Vision Presents An Opportunity for Each Stakeholder’s Interest to be Represented Adequately

Working River

Creation of jobs

Power Grid River

Negotiation strategy

Other Scenarios
  • Natural River
    • Ecology
  • Big Casino
    • Economics
  • Utopian River
    • Regional/nationalism
other scenarios55
Other Scenarios
  • The Eco-Park:
    • Building Consensus
    • Economic Development
    • Recreation/Tourism
    • Ecology/Environment
    • Localism/Regionalism
    • Visions = Ideal Development Models
    • Quality of Life
    • Education
    • Identification of Potential Allies and Opponents
niagara family eco park conclusion
Niagara Family Eco-Park Conclusion

Niagara Falls is truly at a crossroads. One road leads to continued infighting over meager scraps the Power Authority and other governmental leaders provide. The other road provides a proactive solution where stakeholders work together to create a nationally renowned Eco-Park that benefits the entire region. The vision has been created, a plan proposed, and a strategy constructed. The choice is clear.

may 3 2001


May 3, 2001

May 3, 2001