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 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 • Implementation Strategy • Consequences of Other Scenarios
Vision 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 • 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 • Ecology and the Environment • Economy • Stakeholders • Niagara Falls: 50 Years Later • Conclusion
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
Economy • 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
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 • 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
Conclusion • 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.
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
Love Canal Education and Interpretation Center Courtesy of Kinan Architects
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 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.
Improve Quality of Life Recreation Environment Social Education Economic Development Greenway Downtown Niagara Falls Consensus Builder Relicensing Process Eco-Park Benefits
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 • 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 • Relicensing • WNY as a Political swing region
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 • “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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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
$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 • 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