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England's take on Niagara Falls

A top British newspaper is the latest national news organization to pick up on a new Niagara Falls revitalization plan first reported here in June.

In an article titled, "Decline and falls: An American city in crisis," The Daily Telegraph explains the controversy that has surrounded a plan to pay the student loans of college graduates who move to Niagara Falls.

We've already written a lot about the plan but what struck me are some of the raw numbers cited in this report:  20 percent of city residents living on food stamps; nearly one-fifth of the city's homes sitting vacant, another fifth unsafe to occupy.

Those are figures that people on the street grapple with every day, even as city and state leaders tell them progress is moving along quite nicely. 

Like Buffalo, the Falls can be sensitive to outside criticism, and I've found there's at times a distrust of anyone who didn't grow up in the city. In a self-contained environment like that, it's useful every once in a while to be reminded what others think of the city.

Here's how the Telegraph puts it:

"Today, the city appears almost to be a shell. The streets are lined with boarded-up shops and derelict houses. Bars and restaurants are few and far between. Some neighbourhoods are nearly empty...The Seneca Niagara Casino looks other-worldly alongside the crumbling homes and empty storefronts."

The paper writes that "such a dismal situation demanded a radical solution" like the student loan initiative.

The latest news on that program came out last week, and we will keep you updated as the program goes into effect this year. 

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