I wrote a story that appeared on today's front page about how officials want tourists to stay longer in the Falls but how visitors say there's nothing to do here.
I did talk to some visitors who said they absolutely loved it here - much of the time it was for the natural qualities this side offers.
But while some people do enjoy it, not enough people are staying. City and state economic development officials see the obvious need to try to get them to stay longer, spend more money while here, etc.
Three of the four candidates in running in the Democratic primary for Niagara Falls City Council participated in a debate hosted by The Buffalo News on Friday.
Incumbents Sam Fruscione and Charles Walker, along with challenger Andrew Touma talked about issues including economic development, tourism and the city's reputation. Incumbent Kristen Grandinetti did not participate due to illness.
Watch the entire debate, broken down into segments:
A panel mostly of area history groups is being put together to help develop historical interpretation plans for the former Schoellkopf Power Station site - a place where boat docks are being built for the Maid of the Mist Corp.
A recent history of the former Rainbow Centre mall and planning efforts surrounding the empty portion of it:
September 2012: At a ribbon cutting for the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute, initial ideas surface from national real estate experts on what might be done with the empty part of the former Rainbow Centre.
March: Urban Land Institute releases a report on what should be done with the vacant portion. (Read the report through link at the bottom here)
By now, you've probably heard about the selection of Intertrust Development and Uniland Development Co. on Tuesday to compete to redevelop the remaining vacant parts of the former Rainbow Centre mall.
Intertrust and Uniland, who will be working with other companies to make their proposals, were picked out of an undisclosed number of firms who responded to this request for qualifications issued by the state's economic development agency in Niagara Falls.
USA Niagara Development President Christopher J. Schoepflin declined to disclose how many other firms submitted responses to the request for qualifications, nor to identify them, citing state procurement rules. More information on who else made submissions once a preferred developer is finalized, he said.
Mayor Paul A. Dyster issued the following statement on today's announcement that Intertrust Development and Uniland Development were selected to make proposals for the vacant portion of the former Rainbow Centre mall.
“For decades, the old Rainbow Mall and 310 Rainbow Blvd. site were examples of everything wrong with the Niagara Falls market place. Vacant buildings and empty lots give the wrong first impression to our visitors and embarrass our residents. Now in 2013, thanks to strong partnerships with Empire State Development, the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council, and the County of Niagara, these properties represent $100 million in total investment for our community.
"The Niagara County Community College Culinary Institute is already a downtown gem, and there is much more to come at the former Rainbow Mall, as today's announcement signifies. We were able to get to this point within 36 months because we are executing a shared vision, despite short term road blocks. I am very hopeful that our elected officials, at all levels of government, will continue to work together to see this needed development through.”
Assemblyman John Ceretto today announced his support for a proposed $25 million mixed-use development in downtown Niagara Falls that's been held up by three members of the City Council.
Ceretto, R-Lewiston, said the proposal from the Hamister Group for a five-story building on Rainbow Boulevard with a hotel, apartments and ground-level retail space would create jobs, improve the tax base, promote tourism and bring more cash into the city. The economic benefits are large enough that both sides should be able to come an agreement, Ceretto said.
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 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.