February 12, 2009

Oz Dream Has Become A Nightmare

In July of 2005, the first public rumblings of a theme park coming to Niagara County started to make their way around the region. In April of 2006, nearly three years ago, the local newspaper ran an editorial touting the virtue of the "Magical Lands of Oz Project". This project, which is to cost upwards of $1 billion, has been talked about for years. Wheatfield Supervisor Tim Demler has forever taken any opportunity he can to talk about his vision for the Oz-based theme park. Even in the 2006 editorial, Demler is quoted as saying, "The project has been moving steadily".

Fast forward to February 2008. In another US&J story about the time frame for the theme park, Wheatfield Town Attorney Bob O' Toole is quoted as saying, "We’re certainly not talking a year or two down the road, but I don’t think we’re talking tomorrow or the next day, either". It's a year later, Bob.

In the same piece, Demler states, "People have every reason to be cynical, but in the near future, they’re going to be pleasantly surprised". Okay, what do you consider the near future, Tim?

We apologize for being cynical, but we've had enough broken promises in Western New York. In addition, this theme park idea was conspicuously absent from Demler's 2009 state of the town address. The transcript of Demler's speech, which appeared in the Wheatfield Tribune recently, made no mention of this grandiose plan to create the theme park and its 5,000 accompanying jobs.

Personally, I've never thought this project would get off the ground. When you put guys like Rick Burch & John Simon in a room together, little good is likely to come out of it. But for the good of the people of Niagara County, someone either needs to come clean with the future and progress of this project or stop jerking our chain. We don't need anymore unfulfilled promises.


Paladin said...

If they only had some brains...

Barney said...

Give it another year or two

lido said...

Three or four more years, max. Okay, no more than 10.

rob clark said...

Is because they haven't taken a "bond"out yet for the yellow brick road to follow it.

George Lodick said...

Just, how are these guys "jerking our chain"?

What do they have to come clean about?

If it works, great. If it doesn't work, it's sad.

But they've not cost the taxpayers anything as far as I can tell. And, I believe they've actually paid a variety of fees to government agencies for the various environmental and traffic reviews that must be done.

They have not taken public funds and walked away like many highly touted projects. They certainly may seek some sort of incentive package at some point but until then, let them work toward their goal.

The county and its taxpayers would be out nothing if they don't succeed and will certainly benefit if they do.

Shouldn't we be talking more about the nightmare of power settlement and the recent $700 Million that the Power Authority gave to cover the New York's budget gap?

The Power Authority, Assemblywoman DelMonte and Senator Thompson should come clean. They gave away nearly $1 Billion, almost the entire 50 year value of our "generous, best possible settlement," to cover NYS excesses. And NYPA says that it won't hurt operations. Worse yet, they'll probably go back for more to cover next year's shorthfalls.

Niagara accounts for much of NYPA's revenue. But it looks like the taxpayers and rate payers of Niagara County are left saying, "Thank you, Sir. May I have another."

So, please let a private company have it's chance to build something that will benefit the area. If it takes time, so what. We're not paying their bill.

If we need some transparency and accountability, let's look to the government first, especially since they've sold us a bill of goods and have caused the real nightmare in Niagara.

rob clark said...

George, While I agree with most of your comments.(Minus the part that certain elected officials gave away the store. We all know which one gave it away.)I just do not see OZ going anywhere.