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Green space, trails are appropriate for gorge top

Niagara Gazette, 25 May 2000

As a member of Niagara Heritage Partnership, I read with great dismay the comments made by Councilman Joseph D'Angelo regarding the Niagara waterfront in Terry Shaw's column on April 22. It should be noted that Mr. D'Angelo is a founding member of the Niagara Waterfront Task Force, along with another councilman and a local attorney.


The Task Force was formed in order to explore ecotourism and additional green space along the Niagara River and Niagara Gorge. NHP has always maintained that the Niagara Gorge should be more easily accessed by the public and the land along the gorge should be returned to its natural state. To achieve this, a park should extend the entire length of the gorge (with obvious exclusion of the power project) thereby calling for the removal of all our lanes of the Robert Moses Parkway from the falls to Lewiston.


With full knowledge of our position, the Task Force invited NHP to join them as a stakeholder Mr. D'Angelo wrote a "guest view" in the Niagara Gazette calling for the removal of the parkway. In another recent article he is quoted as saying, "I feel removing the parkway is a crucial step to providing more green space and enhancing the natural beauty of the city and the gorge." Now, it appears that he has had a change of heart.


What troubled me was the following excerpt from Mr. Shaw's article: "D'Angelo said that the more people hear, they understand that the two councilmen aren't radical environmentalists who are determined to rip up the Robert Moses Parkway at all costs."


As a Republican, Mr. D'Angelo is, of course, concerned about cost factors. NHP has obtained a quote of $2 million to remove four lanes of concrete for the 6.5 mile stretch. Why, then, does the Task Force use a $28 million figure in its presentations? Where does that number come from? The Task Force has also repeatedly said that it does not have a set plan in place yet. Now the Task Force attacks our plan.


Let's respect our natural wonders. NHP would like to keep the gorge top protected and marketed in a responsible manner. We do advocate biking and hiking trails, which would benefit tourists and locals alike. We do not advocate people-movers, viewmobiles, trams, or electric trolley cars transporting groups of people atop the gorge. We do not advocate additional concrete or asphalt, new construction or a mirror of the Canadian side. The project, as we envision, would gain national exposure which would be advantageous for the business community.


Dan Sicoli
Niagara Falls


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