Visiting the Niagara USA Development Corporation website, the site says that "USA Niagara Development Corporation, a subsidiary of Empire State Development Corporation(ESDC), is solely dedicated to the support and promotion of economic development initiatives in Niagara Falls by leveraging private investment and encouraging growth and renewal of the tourism industry in the City of Niagara Falls".
What a terrific concept. After all, Niagara Falls is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, with approximately 13 million visitors per year. With most of the industrial base gone, it's only natural that tourism be the focal point of any economic resurgence that Niagara Falls may enjoy.
So, armed with the assistance of Governor Spitzer's economic development arm, the ESDC, what a great marriage we have: A city which is a world class tourist destination and a governmental body looking to advance that city. And they are "solely dedicated" to this cause! I am overcome with joy and anticipation of the
successes that are sure to follow.
So I peruse the Niagara Falls Redevelopment site, looking for action. "Press Releases". That's where I'll find the multitudes of successes enjoyed by NFR. Clicking on "Press Releases", I am overcome by the depths of news coming out of NFR. On the NFR site the are five press releases. Wow, stunning success. Not only five press releases, but five releases over the past 12 months. Those releases include the following:
- ESDC TO DISSOLVE SOME SUBSIDIARIES, MERGE OTHERS
- *** MEETING ADVISORY – PUBLIC NOTICE ***
- NIAGARA FALLS CROWNE PLAZA HOTEL RAISES FLAG
- USA NIAGARA, CITY BREAK GROUND ON OLD FALLS STREET
- THIRD STREET BUSINESES RECEIVE GRANT AWARDS
Holy cow, you broke ground on Old Falls Street? Fabulous. Let me enlighten you: The only thing you've broken are the spirits of many people who entrusted you and put their faith in you to make a difference. Look out your window, besides a new bar (Niagara Falls really needs more bars) on Third Street, what other improvements do you see that you can take credit for?
In addition to the complete ineptness coming out of 345 Third Street, at least one employee has shown just how thin-skinned he is. Roger Trevino, Vice-President of NFR, went off to file a police report after Mayor Vince Anello used profanity while confronting Trevino after NFR locked city recreation officials out of a property that the city planned to use for a children's breakfast program.
Could this lockout be in retaliation to Mayor Anello cancelling the contract with NFR allowing NFR exclusive development rights to more than 140 acres in downtown Niagara Falls, 140 acres that NFR hasn't done squat with? If it is, that is a despicable action taken by NFR.
Kudos to Anello for standing up for the community and no longer tolerating the failed policies of the Niagara Falls Redevelopment Corp. As for NFR locking the kids out, I can only equate your actions to the Bad News Bears getting booted off the field at the Astrodome. In the words of Buttermaker, "Let them play"!