Niagara Gazette, April
As our political and financial leaders parade the rebirth of Niagara,
they’ve sold us out to commercialism, pollution and waste disposal. Once
known as the “Eighth Wonder of the World”, our local, state and federal
leaders have let our resources be used and abused with no regard to
One hurtle in
Niagara’s rebirth is the State of New York’s loss-of-direction in dealing
with the Robert Moses Parkway. Did self-interest stories in local
newspapers influence the state? Did financially involved politicians
influence the state? Were corporate puppets set out into the
neighborhoods to convince us to run truckloads of traffic over the Parkway
through the Gorge?
Gazette printed many misleading opinions and Guest Views by Lewiston
residents that have praised the Gorge section of the Parkway as being
essential for hospital emergencies. In reality, this section of the
Parkway is a limited access highway and obstructs Lewiston accident
victims seeking a hospital.
residents who oppose the Renaissance of the Niagara Gorge have publicly
admitted that they have selfish reasons for keeping the Parkway a
high-speed commuter route. They want a non-stop drive from their home in
Lewiston to where they work in Niagara Falls.
North-town politicians were adamant about keeping the Gorge Parkway
at 55 M.P.H. for tourism. Aren’t these the same politicians that balance
their budgets by how much out-of-town waste is buried in their backyard?
Corporate tourism powers some of which hold public office, want the
Gorge to be a speedway so they can whisk tourists through a select list of
attractions. This plan is highly supported by our publicly funded,
privately run, tourism board. Once on a bus, tour operators take complete
control of where tourists spend their money. Herding and hoarding of our
visitors should not dominate our tourism plan.
In a 2/18/04 Gazette Guest View, a past board member of the Niagara
Falls Human Rights Commission and Youth Boards tried to convince North End
residents that building a truck crossing at our Whirlpool International
Railroad Bridge is good for their health and welfare. “Residents will no
longer have to endure the sights and sounds of the trains that they have
listened to for 140 years”, the writer also says. Will this corporate
scheme halt our plans to build a train station, which we hope will
capitalize on New York City and Upstate tourists from hotspots like Grand
Central Station in New York City?
The Niagara Falls train depots’ objective is to attract and welcome
money-spending tourists that will stimulate the economy from the Gorge in
the North End, down Main St., to the Falls. Trains can also carry 100
times more than trucks and do not congest our streets or highways.
Niagara’s tourist friendly train depot fits aesthetically into Niagara’s
portfolio, a truck route doesn’t.
into a “smart city” will take honesty and fairness, not wordplay and
greed. Highland Avenue is Lewiston’s shortcut to Memorial Hospital. This
road cuts through a low-income area that should have no problem attracting
millions in governmental funds to change the street’s purpose and enhance
its economic condition. Upgrading Highland Avenue like a Hyde Park Blvd.
or Niagara Falls Blvd. will bring jobs to that area.
The Upper River is another section of the Parkway that can be used
more intelligently for tourism growth. Building attractions on the Upper
River waterfront and saving the ecology of the Gorge is our future.
Extending the LaSalle Expressway to Portage Road for commuters will spring
life into the heart of our city and will stimulate our government to clean
many brownfields as it cuts through the backyard of what was once
Niagara’s industrial base. Clearing the way is a major task.
Directly in the LaSalle Expressway’s path is the Niagara County
Industrial Development Agency’s (IDA) $165,000,000.00 economic gem,
American Ref-Fuel. While standing in the way of progress this
waste-to-energy incinerator prides itself in how much out-of-town garbage
it burns, in LaSalle’s backyard. Demolishing American Re-Fuel will clean
our air and clear the way for the LaSalle Expressway extension.
Changing the Parkway will give thousands of local workers a job while
breathing life into downtown and the surrounding area stimulating retail
and small business growth. Proper traffic patterns and information will
put Bed & Breakfast, Motels, Hotels, Main St., Pine Ave, N. F. Blvd. and
all our surrounding towns on an equal basis. Public control of public
tourism funds can secure this.
Recognizing the attraction of Niagara and protecting its’ history,
ecology and local quality of life is a public responsibility. Don’t let
hypocrisy control its future.
Vincent M. Mameli