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Don't forget Joseph Davis State Park

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

Joedavis But also at issue when Maziarz and Ceretto met with Harvey yesterday were conditions at Joseph Davis State Park in Lewiston, which the state agreed to keep open with maintenance help from town crews.

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





Complete alternatives for the Robert Moses Parkway

    About 140 Niagara County residents on Monday met with local officials from the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation for the unveiling of six options for the future of the Robert Moses Parkway.

    The Parkway, built a half-century ago, has deteriorated in some spots and become a source of controversy in recent years. Sunday, we wrote about the next step in the process to choose the parkway's future. 

     Mosespic2 Some think the road should be torn up. Others see it as a key link from the Falls to Lewiston and Youngstown. Whatever your preference, you can now see the proposed alternatives in their entirety. Here they are:

     Alternative 1: Restore the parkway to its pre-2002, four-lane version. 

     Alternative 2: Complete and update the current Robert Moses Parkway Pilot Project.

     Alternative 3: Redesign Whirlpool Street in Niagara Falls with a continuous park road, curving the street to the lower level. 

     Alternative 4: Redesign Whirlpool Street, with a segmented park road.

     Alternative 5: Redesign Whirlpool Street, with a divided park road.

     Alternative 6: Removal of the Robert Moses Parkway stretch.

    The alternatives will also be on display through Friday at the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center, 1201 Pine Ave. Niagara Falls, and at Lewiston Village Hall, 145 N. 4th St., from Monday to June 17. Questions will be taken from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at those sites on those days.

    Written comment sheets can be found here and submitted to the Niagara Gorge Corridor Project, c/o Parsons, 40 La Riviere Dr. Suite 350, Buffalo, N.Y. 14202. 

    Feel free to leave your comment on my story from today's paper. Which option do you feel most benefits the Niagara region?

    -News Niagara Reporter Charlie Specht

What should happen to the Moses?

    The Robert Moses Parkway, built a half-century ago as a means for tourists and residents to enjoy the Niagara River from the comforts of their automobiles, has been on a meandering detour for years.

    Five years ago, State Parks, city officials and two other state agencies agreed to use $2 million to redesign the southern section of the parkway and hold a public "scoping" process to determine the future of the north section.

    Many groups, including 30 Niagara Falls block clubs, have spoken out against the parkway because of concerns about the environment and public access to the Niagara Gorge. 

Mosespic     While proponents of removing the parkway have voiced their opinions loud and clear, there are also proponents for keeping the roadway. Former Village of Lewiston Mayor and current Niagara County Legislator Richard F. Soluri is one of them. 

    "What I'm trying to do is protect our investment here," Soluri said. "Without a direct route, it will have an adverse effect on Lewiston."

    The parkway as it is will benefit Niagara Falls, too, Soluri said, funneling visitors from Rochester and Lockport to the Falls.

    "A scenic route, similar to the Canadian side, will add overnight stays in the Falls," Soluri said.

     As reported in today's editon of Niagara Weekend, such a scenic route is one of the ideas proposed by the State Parks office. Here are some other ideas:

    --Redesigning Whirlpool Street between Cedar Avenue and Findlay Drive to act as a rolling park road, creating increased pedestrian access from neighborhoods in the city to the Niagara Gorge.

    --Connecting streets in the DeVeaux neighborhood into the park road, tying the grid pattern of the city street system with the park road.

    --Redesigning the interchange at the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge and Lewiston Road as a signalized intersection by removing four overpass structures and bringing everything to ground level. A roundabout would tie together state Route 104, Upper Mountain Road and the park road.

    --Reconfiguring the parking lot and access for Devil's Hole State Park to allow free and easy movmeent from Route 104. Creating two-way access into Devil's Hole to Lewiston Road.

Which options look attractive to you?

Feel free to comment under this post or attend the State Parks open house on this issue Monday from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Earl W. Brydges Library, 1425 Main St., Niagara Falls. 

-- News Niagara Reporter Charlie Specht