Over the past couple of years visitors to the Niagara Falls State Park would have seen a good deal of construction going on as the Park is slowly upgrading and enhancing the area.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was in Niagara Falls June 9 for a few announcements regarding the Niagara Falls area and the nation’s first State Park.
To aid in the State Park upgrades, Governor Cuomo has pledged $17 million in funding. The Governor has made a $70 million commitment statewide to restore, upgrade, and enhance state parks around New York.
Speaking on the Park, Cuomo said, “Niagara Falls State Park is truly one of the crown jewels of New York, offering unparalleled natural beauty and some of the best outdoor recreation opportunities in the nation. This investment builds the good progress we have made to transform Western New York from the ground up – revitalizing our state parks and historic sites, boosting tourism and creating thousands of well-paying jobs. Today we are recapturing the bold vision and determination that created the most ambitious parks system in the nation, and preserving and enhancing our natural treasures for generations to come.”
Originally designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, the Niagara Falls State Park was designed to allow visitors to have an unobstructed view of what was once known as one of the seven wonders of the world; and to preserve the natural beauty surrounding the majestic Falls.
Among the upgrades are the major viewing areas around the park – Prospect Point, Terrapin Point, Luna Island, and the Three Sisters Islands – with new railing, walkways, benches, light posts, and landscaping.
Terrapin Point is currently under restoration and is scheduled to re-open on the Independence Day weekend. Terrapin Point allows visitors to get a close up view of the Horseshoe Falls.
For many years the Cave of the Winds was a seasonal attraction that was torn down and rebuilt every season. New upgrades to the attraction include a new plaza area with improved areas for dining, restroom facilities, and walkways. Steadman’s Bluff will become the new home of the statue of Nikolai Tesla – the man who built the first hydroelectric power plant in Niagara Falls in 1895.
The Cave of the Winds attraction itself is getting an upgrade with a new facility that will offer a 30 minute program on the history of the area. While the decks along the river gorge will not be open during the winter months – the become covered in ice and must be torn down each season – visitors can still experience the interactive history program. The facility is expected to open some time late next year.
Along with the Park upgrades, visitors will be able to experience more locally produced food and souvenir products.
What for years has been known as the Robert Moses Parkway will henceforth be known as the Niagara Scenic Parkway. The new name adds to the plethora of roadways with Niagara in its name.
In other area attractions, the Niagara Power Vista at the New York Power Authority has just opened a new visitor’s center with all new exhibits and interactive displays. Authority officials say that is you haven’t been to the Power Vista recently, then you haven’t seen it. The Power Vista is open from 9am to 5pm every day expect Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day.
All photos by Sherrill Fulghum
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