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Dyster offers direction for Niagara Falls residents in wake of storm

Friday night's storm left the city's sewage treatment plant damaged and offline, and untreated waste is flowing into the Niagara River.

And from flooded basements to downed trees and limbs, many residents are left cleaning up a mess.

Mayor Paul A. Dyster outlined some advice for residents who may have questions about various aspects of the cleanup. Read more here.

Niagara Falls City Council meeting moved, mayor requests funding in wake of storm damage

When the Niagara Falls City Council meets Wednesday night instead of tonight, they'll be asked to consider spending some money in the wake of last week's storm.

Mayor Paul A. Dyster will be asking city lawmakers to approve spending $100,000 of casino funds for tree trimming and tree removal resulting from storm damage.

The request will require a special vote of the Council to be allowed on the agenda because it was filed after last week's deadline.

Council Chairman Glenn A. Choolokian said last week he changed the date of the meeting because a member who was not able to attend requested it.

Here's the agenda:

Continue reading "Niagara Falls City Council meeting moved, mayor requests funding in wake of storm damage" »

Niagara Falls library offers space for artists' work

The Earl Brydges Public Library, 1425 Main St., is looking for artists to exhibit their work.

Space will be available in the second-floor lobby and in first-floor display cases.

For a copy of the art exhibit policy and an application, contact Jillian Onesi at

Democratic primary on tap for Niagara Falls City Council seats

Four Democrats filed petitions with the Niagara County Board of Elections by Thursday's deadline to run for Niagara Falls City Council.

The three incumbents - Sam Fruscione, Kristen Grandinetti and Charles Walker - as well as challenger Andy Touma will face off in September.

Read the full story.

Niagara County SPCA to end dog control services in Niagara Falls

The Niagara County SPCA said it plans to stop providing dog control services in the City of Niagara Falls on Monday after contract talks have broken down between the two sides.

The SPCA's board voted unanimously Wednesday night to end those services, but will continue to provide rescue and cruelty prevention servies, the agency said in a news release.

The last contract between the city and the agency expired at the end of 2011, and the agency's actual costs for services in the city have been far greater than what the city wants to pay, according to the agency.

"The Niagara County SPCA is not in a financial position to continue subsidizing animal control services for the city," Board President Michelle D. Madigan said in a written statement.

Calls to Corporation Counsel Craig H. Johnson were not immediately returned.

Niagara Falls lawmakers table tourism agency contract to weigh options

The Niagara Falls City Council has tabled a contract extension with the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp., which promotes the city and county to potential visitors.

Read the full story.

Outdoor patio proposed for new Prospect Street pizzeria

The city Planning Board on Wednesday will consider a Prospect Street pizzeria's request to use part of the city's right-of-way for an outdoor patio.

Mario DeMita Jr., of Mario's Pizza, received a $15,000 grant from NFC Development Corp., the city's lending arm, on June 27.

Here's the full agenda for Wednesday night's Planning Board meeting:

Continue reading "Outdoor patio proposed for new Prospect Street pizzeria" »

Who else made a proposal for prime downtown Niagara Falls parcel?


Hamister Hotel Center Image1
The Hamister Group of Williamsville wants to build a five-story, $25.3 million mixed-use development project at 310 Rainbow Blvd. The structure would consist of a 114-room hotel, 24 apartments and up to 8,000 square feet of ground-level retail space.


USA Niagara Development Corp. released information Monday showing some of the other firms that made proposals for developing a prime parcel in downtown Niagara Falls.

Aside from the Hamister Group, which was chosen as the preferred developer for 310 Rainbow Blvd. in February 2012, Uniland Development, DHD Ventures, Eastern Hospitality Advisors and LMK Realty Associates also submitted proposals.

The Hamister Group's proposal is for a five-story, approximately 119,000-square-foot building with a 114-room hotel, preliminarily anticipated to be a Hilton Garden Inn that would include a 10,000 square foot ballroom facility. There would also be 24 market-rate apartments and 5,000 square feet of retail space on Old Falls Street.

Two other bids were submitted, but they were deemed "non-responsive" by the agency.

Continue reading "Who else made a proposal for prime downtown Niagara Falls parcel?" »

Niagara Falls lawmakers delay land sale for $25 million project

The City Council has put off a decision on whether to transfer a downtown parcel for a proposed $25.3 million mixed-use development project.

Monday night’s 3-2 vote was not unexpected, as Council Chairman Glenn A. Choolokian said last week the three-member Council majority had concerns about the value of the Rainbow Boulevard parcel, as well as what he characterized as a lack of information provided to lawmakers throughout the development negotiations.

On Monday afternoon, the head of Empire State Development said the city should think about any message it sends to developers.

********* 9:57 p.m. update: Full story here.

Niagara Falls should think about its message to developers, head of Empire State Development says

NIAGARA FALLS – With the City Council tonight poised to put on hold a $25.3 million proposed downtown development project from the Hamister Group, the head of the state’s economic development agency said city leaders should think about what message they send to developers.

“What’s the message Niagara Falls wants to send to the investment community?” Kenneth Adams, president and CEO of Empire State Development said. “I think it’s legitimate to have all questions - obviously elected officials need to have their questions addressed - but we have to think about what’s the message we’re saying. What is the message we're saying to highly qualified, experienced private developers - whether Hamister or somebody else - ready to invest $23 million in the heart of Niagara Falls, the first project of its type in 40 years?”

The Niagara Falls subsidiary of Empire State Development on Monday afternoon gave a go-ahead to provide $2.75 million in public funds the project.

The USA Niagara Development Corp.’s board of directors voted, 4-0, to provide the funding for the planned five-story project that will include a 114-room hotel, 24 apartments and 5,000 square feet of retail space.

But the Hamister Group’s proposal may not get a needed approval from the city tonight.

The transfer of the land at 310 Rainbow Blvd. still needs the approval of the City Council. Last week, Council Chairman Glenn A. Choolokian said the three-member Council majority plans to table the proposal because of concerns over the amount the city will receive in the sale of the land, as well as what he characterized as a lack of information given to lawmakers as the process went on.

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About The Brink

Tales of a world-famous natural wonder and the city that surrounds it. The Brink is home for all you need to know about Niagara Falls, N.Y.

Aaron Besecker

Aaron Besecker

Aaron Besecker joined The Buffalo News in 2007, where he has covered communities in Western New York as a beat reporter, multimedia journalist and assistant online editor. A Buffalo native, he began his career in journalism at the Niagara Gazette.

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