Below you will seen an excerpt from a Buffalo News article regarding the Greenway Commission approving some grants. These grants will be used on a bunch of projects to spruce up the Niagara Falls State Park. The local state parks representative, Mark Thomas, is quoted as calling these grants a godsend.
Here's my problem. First, the Niagara Falls State Park rakes in a ton of dough from Niagara Falls that gets sent to Albany to underwrite the less desirable parks that quite frankly no one bothers to visit. That pisses me off, but has been going on for a while.
Second, the Greenway was part of the New York Power Authority's settlement agreement with our community for the right to continue to run their big powerplant in Lewiston. The settlement is basically NYPA saying, "We are loaded because of this powerplant in Lewiston which generates cheap hydropower from the Falls. We know we took lots of land and basically are robbing your region of a great natural resource to send power outside the area, but if you let us keep running it for 50 years, we'll give you this basket of goodies including Greenway money." That's all well and good.
Now, the punchline: Why does one state agency (Parks), which already is already taking money out of our community, getting money from another state agency (NYPA) that was supposed to fund LOCAL initiatives in our cities, towns and villages? Why does State Parks get one nickel of NYPA settlement money? Why doesn't State Parks just send a little less of what it rakes in from 8 million visitors each year and use some of that cash to do its own repairs?
My friends, this is how state government continually screws this region and it doesn't matter which party controls the Governor's Mansion. You wouldn't need a special State of Upstate address and lots of promises if state government would just let this region use its own resources for ourselves.
I know Senator Maziarz has a bill that would require Parks to spend money it takes in from Niagara Falls Park on upkeep for these parks. It's the morally right thing to do and this page calls for its passage.
Below is part of the article from the Buffalo News:
A committee consisting of the Power Authority and the office of State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation awarded nearly $2.6 million for five improvement projects in state parks along the Niagara River: The committee issued these awards:
• $700,000 for Three Sisters Islands in Niagara Falls State Park. The money will be used for a new pathway system, bridge rehabilitation, new signs and various ecological restoration efforts.
• $675,000 for improvements to stairways and the gorge trail between Whirlpool and Devil’s Hole state parks.
• $650,000 for restoration of Luna Island and Stedman’s Bluff in Niagara Falls State Park.
• $500,000 for an overlook and trail improvements in Whirlpool State Park.
• $70,000 to complete a restoration plan for Goat Island in Niagara Falls State Park.
Mark W. Thomas, director of the state parks office’s western district, called the awards “a significant blessing” for the agency, which normally receives $1.5 million annually for capital improvements in Niagara and Erie counties as part of the state budget.
And, with the agency recently asking the governor for $650 million for park improvements statewide, Thomas was optimistic.
“Three million dollars a year available for the next 49 years is a significant investment in our parks. And we’re just very grateful for this funding,” Thomas said.