Much has been made recently about calls to repair Niagara Falls State Park, the state's oldest and most lucrative park which has fallen into disrepair.
First, New York Times travel writer Barbara Ireland called the park "shabby." Then an environmental nonprofit affiliated with a former parks commissioner called for reforms to the park and additional funding sources, including a penny tax on plastic bags. State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey has said $85 million in improvements are needed at the park.
U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, State Sen. George D. Maziarz and Assemblyman John D. Ceretto have since jumped on the bandwagon. State Parks have long been a concern to Maziarz, who has written pending legislation on the funding issue described in today's full story.
Lewiston Supervisor Steven L. Reiter and Councilman Michael Marra attended the meeting with Harvey. Harvey gave them permission to tear out charcoal grills and drinking fountains in Joseph Davis State Park that Reiter said are unused, tilted and bent.
Maziarz told me last week the state had originally proposed studying changes to the park, including whether the grills should come out. That seemed like unnecessary red tape to some officials, he said.
"Basically, my message to her on Joe Davis was, get out of their way," Maziarz said.
Reiter said the meeting was positive and that the state and town hadn't connected as much as they'd hoped for because of a busy, wet spring season. Yesterday's meeting solved that problem, he said.
"I think having the local officials look her in the face [was beneficial]," Maziarz said. "I think [the commissioner] told her senior staff there, "You meet with these people, and you will resolve their issues.'"
-News Niagara Reporter Charlie Specht