Tuesday, December 29, 2009

17 Threats to the NYS Preservation Plan

The 2009-2013 New York State Preservation Plan, Historic Preservation at a Crossroads, identified seventeen key threats to implementing the plan. It states “each of these threats was mentioned repeatedly in all aspects of the public outreach process.” (page 15)

One only had to attend a recent Niagara River Greenway Standing Committee meeting and watch Senator Maziarz and former Lewiston Mayor Soluri to see these threats literally in action as the two men interfered with a funding request for a proposal titled: Regional Economic Growth Through Ecological Restoration of the Niagara Gorge Rim. The Niagara Gorge rim is botanically and culturally unique.

The key threats listed in the State Parks Preservation Plan I found particularly significant to Niagara Falls (NY) and the region are quoted and listed below. These same key threats readily translate and apply to land preservation as well as historic building and cultural preservation.

1.   1.  Lack of awareness and/or the political will to protect historic and cultural resources: Many meeting participants expressed concern that historic and cultural resources are frequently lost or threatened through a basic lack of awareness about their social and economic value as well as a lack of awareness about historic tools, strategies, and incentives. Fear of controversy and lack of understanding prevents many communities from protecting historic and cultural resources.

2.     2.Lack of awareness about the economic benefits of historic preservation and the economic return on investments made in building rehabilitation and community revitalization. It was widely noted that historic preservation tools and strategies are underutilized and should be better incorporated into statewide community revitalization and economic development strategies. Many people advocated for better collection of data related to the economic impacts of historic preservation as well as development of a comprehensive economic impact study.

3.     3.Sprawl/ suburbanization and the erosion of rural, open space, and agricultural lands: Existing economic incentives continue to favor and encourage this type of growth.

4.    4. Lack of statewide Main Street Program: Many participants observed that New York State is one of the few states without a statewide downtown revitalization program based on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s four point approach emphasizing design, community organizing, economic restructuring and promotion.

5.     5.Failure of communities and agencies to comply fully with SEQRA and ineffectiveness of SEQRA as a tool to  protect historic and cultural resources: The SEQRA process and its application as a tool to protect historic and cultural resources continue to be misunderstood, underutilized and improperly used.

6.    6. Urban disinvestment, lack of investment in older buildings and neighborhoods, and subsequent deterioration and loss of historic and cultural resources: Many people noted these trends have continued for decades and suggested that New York needs urban policies and incentives to help reverse these plans.

Quote of the Day

From the Niagara Heritage Partnership website petition to remove the Robert Moses Parkway:

Buffalo, NY

Niagara Falls New York is in need of a complete makeover; there really aren't many things worth keeping, and the theory should be "implode as much as possible and start over"......I've followed the niagara heritage partnership for some time without being more involved; i've concluded that this is a most thoughtful and resolute group of people; they only ask to fix things, and they listen more than they talk, which is rare and appreciated. I have not heard one iota of logic for keeping the parkway. Robert Moses raped this region; there are things we cannot do on some fronts; there are things we can do on others. Eliminating the parkway seems to make sense environmentally, economically and for the future plans of the falls. I fully support the work of the NHP because if someone had a logical, working solution to what they are proposing here, we'd have heard of it. If anyone has such a solution, bring it forward and i'm sure the NHP would listen. To quote Ronald Reagan, "Mr. Gorbachav, tear down this wall"!!!!!!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Historic Preservation at a Crossroads

This is the second handout given to the Niagara River Greenway Standing Committee. You can read the first one here. (click on here).  

NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation recently published its 2009-2013 Historic Preservation Plan, Historic Preservation at a Crossroads. It received final approval by the National Park Service on March 27, 2009.  

The rationales for creating the document are on page four. Here are two: [1] “New York is a state of incredible beauty, abundance, history, and culture. Historic preservation helps communities make the most of these assets and is a positive but underutilized contributing force at the intersection of the state’s declining population and economic trends and its considerable assets and opportunities.” [2] Historic Preservation is a community catalyst and a powerful engine for economic growth. It stimulates pride, and inspires residents to help themselves, brings neighborhoods and communities together, enhances community assets, attracts reinvestment, creates more jobs than new construction, and keeps labor earnings cycling through local economies. Its incremental, locally oriented, and sustainable revitalization activities have been successful in good and bad economic climates in diverse communities across America for many years.”  

The “Plan has been prepared to assist all New Yorkers interested in identifying, protecting, enhancing, and promoting the state’s historic and cultural resources. It is based on the premise that historic preservation is in New York State’s best interest: it is a powerful but as yet underutilized community and economic development strategy that should be an integral part of New York State’s revitalization, smart growth, and sustainability efforts.” (page 7)  

"Part I is the heart of the plan. It identifies 11 key themes and seven key historic preservation strategies", or goals. The first theme, Leadership and Advocacy, notes “a need for a clear, unified voice, stronger execution of federal and state preservation laws, increased collaboration with others. Coordination and Collaboration, listed as a second theme, addressed “better integration, coordination, and collaboration between state agencies, not-for-profits and private agencies, organizations and individuals in order to bring people together."  

For Niagara Falls, the “Statewide Main Street Program” theme is particularly important. The plan states on page 14, “Despite being a pioneer in the main street revitalization concept, New York is one of a very few states that have not established a statewide Main Street Program, although such a program has been considered and partly implemented by state agencies and organizations such as New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal, New York State Department of State, and the New York Main Street Alliance.”  

Main Street revitalization is also noted as a “key historic preservation strategy.” Here’s part of the vision statement printed on page 18: “Historic preservation will be understood as a rational approach for protecting irreplaceable historic and cultural resources and managing change, offering proven, fiscally conservative, cost-effective community strategies that: 1. Revitalize, strengthen, and enhance New York’s cities, villages, and rural hamlets while making use of existing infrastructure and transportation systems and CONSERVING farmland, OPEN SPACE, and NATURAL AREAS." [emphasis, mine.]  

So, there it is, laid out in print by New York State Parks, a five year plan that clearly states exactly what the Niagara Heritage Partnership as envisioned and advocated for since 1997: We can make use of all the existing alternate routes (I-190, Route 265 etc), eliminate the Robert Moses Parkway, redirect the traffic down Main Street, Niagara Falls via Hyde Park Boulevard and Highland Avenue, AND reclaim the natural area of the gorge rim as open space. A third post will list the Key Threats Identified in the Planning Process.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Friday, December 25, 2009

Next Christmas: Rent-a-Reindeer - Tonic

Forget the holiday lights. Forget the competition with your neighbors. Next year, rent a real reindeer. Rent-a-Reindeer - Tonic

Wishing you warmth, joy, and laughter from Niagara Falls, NY.
Happy Christmas, everyone.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

"If you don't have safe streets, all the light rail lines in the world aren't going to save your city."

This Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) sidebar note caught my attention: "If you don't have safe streets, all the light rail lines in the world aren't going to save your city."

The article and another longer one can be found here.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Thought of the Day

“Wisdom is knowing what to do next, skill is knowing how to do it, and virtue is doing it.” David Carr

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Scientists hope to curb exploding bat lungs near Great Lakes wind turbines | Great Lakes Echo

I'm not a fan of of wind turbines. They're unsightly and always seem to be placed in the most beautiful viewsheds. Here's a an article about the harmful effects they have on bats. Scientists claim the low pressure caused by the spinning blades ruptures capillaries and the bats' lungs explode. The article is on the Great Lakes Echo blog. Click here:
Scientists hope to curb exploding bat lungs near Great Lakes wind turbines | Great Lakes Echo

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Thought of the Day

Notes To An Art Maker & Marketeer, part I
from HTMLGIANT by Ken Baumann

Community is important, but so is dissemination.

Magic will always reside in the product. As the ignorant become less so, look for new ways to hide process.

‘Industry standard’ means broken.

Remember that you will probably embrace the idea that offends you the most. Make it sooner rather than later.

Anticipate ecology moving away from the market and becoming an ethics again.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Will NYS Senator Maziarz Prevent the Revitalization of Niagara Falls and Niagara County?

Yesterday, disquieting political actions by the senator and a former mayor occurred during the Q & A portion of a Niagara River Greenway Standing Committee presentation.

One presenter provided everyone in the room with two handouts. The first briefly captured a March, 2009 direction plan New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (NYS OPRHP) intends to implement statewide. "The NYS OPRHP pre-publication final plan was approved by the National Park Service on March 27, 2009." The second document contained information compiled from 10 cities, National Park Service, and The Trust for Public Land.

Printed below, it lists 52 compiled facts, lessons learned. The NYS OPRHP handout will be a separate post.

Case Studies in Urban Road Removal - The Benefits and Impacts - LESSONS LEARNED

1. Reduction in greenhouse gas

2. Spillover traffic’s absorbed

3. Traffic finds alternate routes and travelers choose the most convenient mode or travel at different times or different locations

4. Removal is most effective when it is one element of a comprehensive, clearly articulated civic vision for enhanced quality of life, sustainability, and economic development that leverages the opportunity made available by removal

5. If the public is forewarned, traffic is adequately redistributed.

6. Removal for all its benefits is a means to advance greater goals and objectives:
a. In Niagara Falls – for example—Road Removal would support
[i] North Star Project, and
[ii] Olmsted’s Vision for Niagara,
[iii] Economic revitalization and growth,
[iv] Quality of life,
[v] New jobs and business,
[vi] Creative Tourism destination initiatives

Portland, Oregon
7. Removal in Portland, Oregon was a catalyst in the redevelopment of the downtown waterfront as it opened up access to the River and 309 acres

8. Development around the waterfront amenities had positive impacts within the city as a whole:
[a] Provided public good and improved quality of life
[b] Financial benefits:
[i] Property values tripled
[ii] Growth in this area outpaced growth in the city as a whole by 7%

[c] Crime reduction in Portland declined by 65% in the waterfront area and declined 16% in the city as a whole. Attributing factors:
[1] New visibility
[2] Increase in pedestrian eyes on the street

San Francisco, CA
9. Crime reduction in San Francisco occurred when the street transformed to one of stylish shops, restaurants, and galleries.

10. Removal provided a range of benefits without substantial negative impacts for commuters.

11. In the years following removal:
[a] New neighborhoods were established
[b] Major new civic amenities and tourist attractions were opened and
[c] The existing tourist destinations remained major destinations
[d] Merchants said they didn’t lose their core customers despite the new competition and the removal of the road 9 years ago.
[e] Tourism grew impressively in the years following removal and reclamation
[i] In 2006, visitors to San Francisco spent $7.6 billion – the highest in the city’s history
[f] Removal did not negatively impact the economics of nearby neighborhoods
[g] The removal for the area and the city as a whole was positive.

Boston, MA
12. Benefits are aesthetic and commercial
[a] If downtown is a more pleasant destination people linger longer and spend more money

13. The value of their commercial properties near their greenway increased by $2.3 billion, up 79%

14. In 2006, the Boston removal project attracted an unprecedented level of private investment in new development downtown
[a] $5.3 billion worth in projects completed or underway within a 5 minute walk
[b] An estimated generation of nearly 36,000 new jobs

Seoul, Korea
15. Road removal and stream restoration restored to a 3.6 mile linear park

16. 15 months after opening, they had 90,000 visitors of which 30% came from outside the area

17. The restored water and open space access enhanced recreational amenities widely viewed as having improved the quality of life of center city residents, workers and visitors

18. Restoration was part of a much larger development strategy with local and global components
[a] Local level – project rationalization had to do with revitalization of historic downtown which lost much of its market share as the city’s economic center shifted
[b] Global level – removal and restoration of the landscape has been described by officials as rebranding or repositioning of Seoul’s image internationally
i. A meaningful, symbolic gesture for a 21st century city

19. It projected long-term economic benefits of
[a] Between $8.5 - $ 25 billion (US) and
[b] 113,000 new jobs

20. The Seoul project illustrates the tangible economic and environmental benefits that can flow from urban design that is richly symbolic and driven in large part by quality of life perceptions.

Trenton, NJ
21. Removal was undertaken to
[a] Promote redevelopment downtown
[b] Improve safety
[c] Remove a barrier to the city’s waterfront

Vancouver, Canada
[22] Removal achieved results with a progressive “Living-First” strategy and subsequent plans and policies that emphasized a shift away from automobiles as a dominant form of transportation

Toronto, Canada
23. Removal Benefit Strategies
[a] To beautify the city
[b] To improve a sense of place in neighborhoods
[c] To maximize the benefits of waterfront revitalization efforts

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
24. The estimated cost to rebuild an aging freeway was $100 million

25. The road elimination came at a much lower financial cost of $25 million ($20 million was paid for with federal funds)

Chattanooga, TN
Reasons why they removed the Riverfront Parkway:
26. In late 1960’s its economy’s manufacturing base contracted, eliminating thousands of jobs

27. Its air was declared the most polluted in the nation

28. The construction and configuration of roads intended to move traffic hurt the downtown business environment and hastened the decline of a once vibrant city center.

29. Their parkway no longer had a purpose; its physical location blocked the city from its waterfront

30. Their parkway was a far larger piece of infrastructure than the city needed

31. Removal benefits:
[a] Pedestrian connection to the River waterfront

The Benefits of Parks and Open Space – National Park Service
32. Increased value in neighboring residential properties

33. Similar increase benefit on commercial property

34. Important quality of life factor for corporations choosing where to locate facilities

35. Important for the well-educated in choosing where to live

36. Provides substantial environmental benefits
[a] Trees reduce air and water pollution
[b] Trees keep cities cooler and
[c] Trees are an effective and less expensive way to manage storm water runoff

Open space - Social and Community Development Benefits
37. Make inner city more livable

38. Provides places where low-income neighborhoods feel a sense of community

39. Access to public parks and facilities strongly linked to reductions in crime

40. Contact with the natural world improves physical and psychological health
[a.] Such settings are associated with enhanced mental alertness, attention and cognitive performance
[b] A 10% increase in greenspace was found to decrease a person’s health complaints in an amount equal to a 5-year reduction in a person’s age

Open Space – Economic Benefits
41. People are willing to pay more for property located close to open space
[a] This translates into city revenue – in some cases the additional taxes are enough to pay the annual debt charges on bonds used to finance acquisition and development of the open space

[b] In one study, a greenbelt added 5.4 million to the total property values of 1 neighborhood. That generated $ 500,00/year in additional property taxes—enough to pay for a $1.5 million purchase price in 3 years

Commercial Effects of Open Space
42 Atlanta – Property values rose from $2 per square foot to $150 per square foot

Economic Revitalization Effects of Open Space
43 Boeing, chose Chicago over Dallas and Denver because of the city’s quality of life, its downtown, and urban life

44. In using greenspace to revitalize, Dallas emulated Portland, Oregon—a city with a reputation as one of the most livable

45. Companies like Hewlett-Packard, Intel, and Hyundai were drawn to the forests, orchards, and creeks on Portland’s outskirt urban area

46. The real estate industry calls quality of life a litmus test for determining the strength of the real estate investment market

47. If people want to live in a place, companies, stores, hotels and apartments follow.

St. Louis, Missouri
48. In Missouri, the 2004 bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark Expedition launched an ambitious effort to revitalize St. Louis and the nearby region

49. Improving quality of life was a major goal with a central emphasis on keeping well-educated young people in the region

50. A cornerstone to their plan was their greenway, a 200 square mile area, stretching 40 miles

51. Their greenway traces the first stretch of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

52. Other city and region benefits
[a] Tourism
[b] Pollution abatement
[c] Storm water run off control
[d] Crime reduction
[e] It created stable neighborhoods with a strong sense of community

After witnessing the blatant undermining attempts by the senator inquiring minds want to know, in the face of sound economic facts and clear public benefits provided by cities across the United States and the world,
Why did Senator Maziarz and the former Mayor of Lewiston, NY, lobby against funding the proposal "Regional Economic Growth Through Ecological Restoration of the Niagara Gorge Rim?"

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

National Cupcake Day is Today! - Tonic

National Cupcake Day is Today! - Tonic

Civil Society Blocked in Copenhagen by UNFCC


Today's Excerpt...

From the book, "(integrity) by Stephen L. Carter.
Explanations. The Rules about the Rules. Pages ix-14

"When I refer to integrity, I have something very simple and very specific in mind.

Integrity requires three steps: (1) discerning what is right and what is wrong; (2) acting on what you have discerned, even at personal cost; and (3) saying openly that you are acting on your understanding of right from wrong. The first criterion captures the idea of integrity as requiring a degree of moral reflectiveness. The second brings in the ideal of an integral person as steadfast, which includes the sense of keeping commitments. The third reminds us that a person of integrity is unashamed of doing the right.

...One reason to focus on integrity...is that it is in some sense prior to everything else[.]

The rest of what we think matters very little if we lack essential integrity, the courage of our convictions, the willingness to act and speak in behalf of what we know to be right.

...No matter what our politics, no matter what causes we may support, would anybody really want to be led or followed or assisted by people who lack integrity? People whose words we could not trust, whose motives we didn't respect, who might at any moment toss aside everything we thought we had in common and march off in some other direction?

...Integrity is not the same as honesty. ...One can be honest without being integral, for integrity, as I define it, demands a difficult process of discerning one's deepest understanding of right and wrong, and then requires action consistent with what one has learned.

...We refuse to think in terms of right and wrong when we elect or reject political candidates based on what they will do for our own pocketbooks.

...But in order to live with integrity, it is sometimes necessary to take that difficult step--to get involved--to fight openly for what on believes to be true and right and good, even when there is risk to oneself.

...People living an integral life must be willing to say that he or she is acting consistently with what he or she has decided what is right. ...people of integrity are willing to tell us why they are doing what they are doing.

...--saying publicly that we are doing what we think is right, even when others disagree--is made particularly difficult by our national desire to conform.

...Integrity does not always require following the rules. Sometimes--as in the civil rights movement--integrity requires breaking the rules. But it also requires that one be open and public both the fact of one’s dissent and the reasons for it.

Corruption. Acts of Unintegrity.
…the search for right [is what] each of us must undertake. …If integrity has an opposite, perhaps it is corruption—the getting away with things we know to be wrong.

Corruption is corrosive. We believe we can do it just a little. Nearly all of us break small laws, laws governing everything from the [traffic and highway signs, such as the] speed at which we may drive to [ the illegal use of roads].

…one who engages in repeated acts of unintegrity may be said to living an unintegral life.

...What are our rules about when we follow the rules? What are our rules when we break them?"

Cerreto: Parkway is Like A Berlin Wall

FACT: Cerreto Admits Robert Moses Parkway is a barrier to the waterfront. He claims, "The Parkway should provide us access to our natural resources and not a barrier to them, especially in and around Niagara Falls." Article below.


Town of Lewiston receives federal grant for bike path

Departments update town board on current operation budgets

by Larry Austin
Lewiston Porter Sentinel, August 13, 2005

U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter notified the Town of Lewiston board in an Aug. 1 letter that Congress' federal transportation bill includes $108 million for highway projects for the Buffalo area. Within that sum is $1.84 million for a recreational bike path from the City of Niagara Falls to the Town of Lewiston.

As reported last week in the Sentinel, the path would link a pathway along the upper Gorge to the existing Town of Lewiston bike path below the hill that runs from Mohawk Street along the Robert Moses Parkway to Pletcher Road and north to the Village of Youngstown.

At Monday's town work session, Lewiston Town Supervisor Fred Newlin said the pathways, similar to those in Canada, bring tourist dollars to the area.

More Tourism Dollars

"Anytime you see people moving around, that means that's dollars moving around," Newlin said. "Dollars that we generate from tourists are one less dollar we have to generate for services supplied to the taxpayer by the taxpayer. So we all have an interest in seeing tourism thrive here in Niagara County."

Newlin credited the Niagara County Public Works Department for applying for the grant that generated the appropriation to Lewiston.

The path would connect the City of Niagara Falls and the Town of Lewiston. Newlin said he will begin talks with Niagara Falls Mayor Vince Anello to see how the town and city can "meet each other halfway" on issues related to the path.

"If there is a difference between the $1.84 million that is appropriated in this federal bill and the final cost, I think it probably would be fair for the Town of Lewiston and the City of Niagara Falls to split the difference," Newlin said.

Money could come from the Greenway funds secured in the recently finalized New York Power Authority relicensing agreement, Newlin said.

Improved Access

Town Councilman John Ceretto said the town has worked on the bike path proposal for eight years. Not only will the transportation bill generate tourist dollars, he said, but also it will improve access between the village and escarpment area. When the parkway was originally built, Ceretto said, the state inadvertently created a physical barrier between those living above the hill and those living in the village.

"There's always been a wall there," Ceretto said. "Not only the safety I was worried about, but it's almost like a Berlin Wall

"You see more and more people and biking and walking and things like that," he added. "So this is a quality of life issue, and I think that this is very good for Lewiston."

Monday, December 14, 2009

Leadership Assembly

Last week a discussion took place with the Leadership Niagara Class of 2009--the best class ever! Several provocative questions were asked on the final day. "Who decides who will be the leaders? The individuals interviewing the potential members for the class of 2010? What about the people who were rejected? Were they not qualified? Why not? Who decides the role of leadership?" Does anyone actually have the right to make that decision about someone? Maybe it's simply politics as usual in Niagara County. Check out this SlideShare Presentation:

Niagara Gazette - GRASSLANDS RESTORATION: New butterflies appear at Artpark's restored grasslands area.

Niagara Gazette - GRASSLANDS RESTORATION: New butterflies appear at Artpark's restored grasslands area.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Garden Rant

How to be nicer from Garden Rant Garden Rant

Discussion About The Trolley Study Proposed by Niagara County Legislator John Cerreto

Dan Davis - Niagara Community Forum Blog (Used with Permission)
"I'll predict the outcome of the study will be that it is a terrific idea and that they will need further study to determine what the implementation process should be. Then, they will need a few million to buy buses (trolleys) and hire consultants to determine the best routes. They will likely try to bypass Main Street in favor of the Aquarium and Whirlpool Park (of course they will have to double back for the new train station). When the "Garden Parkway" is complete, they will be able to drive right past there (new station) on their way to Whirlpool Park. The big question will be, how they route to Niagara University and the Power Vista and get back on the Parkway before they reach the top of Lewiston hill. None of this fares well if you have business interest on main street or are in favor of parkway removal to Lewiston.

I think someday there will (and should) be a trolley service through the city to north towns and back. How it is routed is a different situation. If our civic leaders are concerned about the livelihood of Main Street, they will insist is is routed from the Aquarium down Main to the new depot and beyond.

It is unlikely they will recommend going through Deveaux. There is a slight chance it could be routed to the [Niagara Falls] Country Club, at the top of Lewiston hill eliminating the need to use the parkway past Devils Hole.

What do you think John Ceretto's motives are? Does he want a "People Mover" that promotes the entire area, or does he want a fast track to Lewiston. His actions in respect to the routing will have the answer."

ER Baxter - Niagara Heritage Partnership (Used with Permission)
"Your prediction sounds like a solid possibility. What I return to is: this was billed as a feasibility study. The main question, then, is: "Is it feasible?" If the answer is: "Yes, if you throw enough money at it," then it could have been answered without the "study," as easily as I did just now.

2) If the question is expanded to "How can we encourage visitors to stay here longer & see more of what we have to offer (and as a result spend more of their money here)?" then how that question is answered becomes more complicated. If the answer is "We provide a trolley to take them to various points of interest," that brings up other questions.

The first one is, "Who will pay for the trolley?"

The second one is, "Will the money spent to establish, operate, and maintain the trolley be repaid by the fares visitors spend to ride it?"

That is, "Will it be self-supporting?" The short answer is, "No, not even close." We now go back to the first question of who will pay for it.

Thus far the answers have been relatively easy and the team at Niagara University had arrived at this point quickly--hence their speculation about "corporate sponsors." Maybe that's possible. Perhaps machines vending Coca-cola on the trolleys would be enough payback as was one idea floated by the team--as well as logos on the trolley sides, ect. I can't speak to that.

But these questions have to be answered by the study:
How much would it cost to establish a trolley system?

How much for each trolley?

How many are needed?

What would the fuel costs be per mile?

How much would it cost annually for insurance?

Would the trolleys run beyond the approximately 100 day tourist season?

From what segments of the tourist population would the ridership come?

Would couples and families who drove their own vehicles here be willing to embark on an hours-long trolley ride to Murphy's Orchards, the NT Carousal museum, [The Niagara County] Wine Trail, Lockport Caves, and so on, away from their cars, unable to make a decision to stop for lunch when & where they wanted to, take a side trip, etc etc?

How much time would be taken up by these trips? Seems as if 3 hours wouldn't be an over-estimate. (To each location.)

How about those who arrive here on tour buses? That would seem to be natural--these people don't have their own cars to drive to Fort Niagara, for example. But tour buses already go to Fort Niagara...and these drivers have a schedule to maintain, too. They aren't going to sit around drinking coffee waiting for their customers to take a trolley ride. "Okay, everybody out. Take a look over the gorge edge. Thirty minutes here at the Power Vista, and everybody back on the bus. Here we go. Next stop Goat Island."

At what location would these trolley-loads of tourists be picked up to begin their "stay-with-us-longer" tours? Has this question even been considered by the Niagara University study team?

It's a logistical nightmare from which there is no escape, if we are looking for the effort to have an economic payoff and not be just another instance of tens of
millions of taxpayer dollars poured down yet another rathole of special interests.

I suspect as you do that this "study" will be a subjective mass of speculations and fictions that will conclude there is a need for further study and that it remains what it was to start with: a transparent attempt to justify the continued existence of the gorge parkway coupled with the goal of trolleying tourists to Lewiston businesses (and to Old Fort Niagara, at Bob Emerson's insistence as the initiative evolved). (This route will be the "pilot" part of the proposal.)

Further, (note: see the pdf file filed under recent doucments)Legislator John Ceretto, also an employee of OPRHP, [Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation] seems not to understand the concept of "conflict of interest," in spite of his earlier efforts to get a County resolution passed calling for the retention of the gorge parkway and being forced to withdraw it because he was in conflict. Having Niagara University and students there function as his proxy doesn't shield him from engagement in this further conflict.

The study conducted by NU must state the parkway will not be a utilized route--it is insufficient to say that "study findings are not dependent upon" the gorge parkway. And what "findings" would those be?

A very good map (made new, not some cobbed together version of an old one) clearly showing tourist attractions throughout the County and the roads to get to them, made readily available to every tourist arriving here--even at a cost of a million or two or more--would put us further ahead economically, I believe. The map itself should be of a quality that would make it a keepsake, a souvenir, an advertisement for our region. And the map could largely pay for itself from contributions made by the attractions listed & shown, restaurants, gift shops, and so on. NTCC [Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp.] should pick up a share as should OPRHP & NYPA [New York Power Authority].

Anyway--that's my take on it."

"See more articles from The+Niagara+Falls+Reporter+(Niagara+Falls%2c+NY)

Percy, NTCC squander city share of casino $$.(EDITORIAL)

Article from:
The Niagara Falls Reporter (Niagara Falls, NY)
Article date:
July 22, 2008

Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp. CEO John Percy's attempts to justify his squandering of nearly $3 million in city casino and bed tax money would be laughable, were it not so tragic.

Using figures cooked up from who knows where, Percy claimed the NTCC brought in $46 million in tourism dollars last year. Knowing there is no way to possibly verify the number, we were frankly surprised he didn't just say he brought in $100 million.

The NTCC is a state agency. Why the city of Niagara Falls has to pay for its entire operating budget is a question that has never been answered satisfactorily. A quick glance at the literature put out by the organization shows that it spends as much of its resources promoting the canal in Lockport, Fort Niagara in Youngstown and the Wine Trail out someplace where they don't have any sidewalks as it does promoting Niagara Falls.

While Percy pointed to targeted advertising purchased in places like Cleveland and Pittsburgh, you're far more likely to see television commercials for the Seneca Niagara Casino in those places than you are to see any taxpayer-funded NTCC advertising.

The organization spends quite a lot on Percy's frequent trips abroad, ostensibly to promote the Niagara region to potential tourists in Europe, India and elsewhere. Of course, there is no way to determine whether or not his taxpayer-funded travels result in a single tourist coming here who wouldn't have come otherwise, but perhaps from Percy's perspective that's the beauty part.

Percy said the numbers he cooked up are based on research conducted by Niagara University. He doesn't say what standards the students or professors or whoever used, which raises many interesting questions.

For instance, Percy claimed that hotel occupancy was up by 7.6 percent in 2007 over 2006, but didn't say how many more rooms were rented. Did the number take into account the closure of the Ramada, the Holiday Inn or the two riverfront hotels formerly operated by John Prozeralik? Clearly, fewer hotels open will result in a higher occupancy rate for those that remain, even if the number of visitors remains exactly the same.

"This is only a snapshot," Percy said in issuing his report. "I could go on and on about what this agency and our staff actually does."

We wish he would.

Because, for the life of us, we can't figure it out."

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Garden Rant: Sustainable Sites Folks say "Landscapes Give Back!"

Garden Rant: Sustainable Sites Folks say "Landscapes Give Back!"
"The most compelling argument for sustainable landscapes, and the slogan splashed across SSI literature, is that Landscapes Give Back. They give back in cleaner water and air, cooler cities, mitigation of climate change (all that sequestering of carbon), resource conservation and regeneration, greater energy efficiency, habitat conservation and biodiversity, lower costs and improved performance from stormwater management, and better living conditions. Whew"

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Robert Moses Parkway and the Handicapped

We share those concerned about the handicapped should the Niagara Heritage Partnership proposal for parkway removal and trail creation along the top of the gorge between Niagara Falls and Lewiston become a reality. From very early on they considered where along the gorge, and how, access for the handicapped, elderly, and wheelchair accessibility could be maintained or created. Their proposal maintains vehicle access to five locations in the first four miles of the gorge north from downtown Niagara Falls. They are: at Schoellkopf Geological Museum, Whirlpool State park, Devil's Hole State Park, and at the Power Vista (both upper buildings and lower river dock access). Trails, too, would be open and the overlook just south of Whirlpool would be modified to make viewing from wheelchairs possible. Wheelchair access for those not depending on vehicle transportation would be possible at several points from city streets. We support plans for an elevator to the gorge bottom at Schoellkopf, which we're certain will confirm to codes pertaining to the handicapped.

Quite some time ago (February 28, 2000) we wrote to the Center For Independent Living in Niagara Falls and asked for help with information such as slope-gradients, surfacing, and so on for trails, so that we could recommend what is needed for wheelchair use and, at some future date, the wheelchair athlete, but received no response. We'd be very pleased if you would like to work with us in arriving at some creative solutions to the problems faced by the handicapped when they have the desire to enjoy being in nature, the environment we hope to extend. Please call 791-4611, or email niagaraheritage@aol.com if you are interested.

Bob Baxter
Conservation Chair

Monday, November 23, 2009

Quote of the Day

Over the last three decades, as thousands of acres of trees, bushes and other vegetation in New York have been paved over, the land’s ability to absorb rain has declined significantly.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thought of the Day


The most elusive and desired quality of leadership is vision.
Vision is the perfume of the mind. --Harriet Rubin

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Niagara The Park - A Vision Since 1998

Preserving nature will help region's tourist industry
Niagara Gazette, 19 March 1998
The generations of the Niagara region have neatly placed their responsibilities into tightly sealed bags. We have divided them so they don't overlap. We see our responsibilities as existing only in our lifetimes. It's time we look at the world around us in a communal sense, in a realm of continuation. We can do this by supporting The Niagara Heritage Partnership and its "Niagara The Park" concept.

The Niagara River has endured much abuse at the hands of our forefathers. In our inactivity we are equally guilty. We live in an area rich in potential, yet we have polluted it and tainted its natural beauty. With the deterioration of the land around us, so too, does our economy fail. If we look to Canada we see massive tourism. This tourism Is greatly influenced by the care the Canadians have given to the land.

The Niagara Heritage Partnership has adopted the "Niagara The Park" concept, which proposes to boost the economy by returning this natural beauty to our side of the gorge. This can be done by the removal of the Robert Moses Parkway along the top of the gorge from the Schoellkopf Museum to Lewiston and the restoration of parkland and native flora that once grew there. The Niagara Heritage Partnership proposes that this will "attract positive national and international attention in the ecotourism market, the fastest growing segment of the tourism industry."

The Niagara River stretches approximately 45 miles. We have polluted, developed and virtually destroyed the natural beauty of our side of the river. To restore this land would give this area a much-needed boost to the economy with tourism and it would force those traveling to use alternate routes such as Main Street, Buffalo Avenue, Hyde Park Boulevard and Pine Avenue. The current route of the Robert Moses allows people to travel through Niagara Falls without passing any local businesses.

We owe it to our future generations to revitalize the economy and our natural resources. We are caregivers to land but our actions show us as thieves in the night slipping over the fence to rob the garden, leaving waste. We can no longer pack responsibilities in air-tight bags.

Christine Patrice Gebera, North Tonawanda

Monday, November 9, 2009

Why We Need Libraries - Freedom

TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM . . . Monday, Nov. 9, 2009
WORD archives, commentary and reader discussion at http://tedsword.blogspot.com

Freedom to Roam

"With a library you are free, not confined by temporary political climates. It is the most democratic of institutions because no one--but no one at all--can tell you what to read and when and how."
--Doris Lessing, writer and winner, 2007 Nobel Prize for Literature

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Rare Bird Alert

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Dial-a-Bird is a service provided by your Buffalo Museum of Science and the Buffalo Ornithological Society. Press (2) to leave a message, (3) for updates, meeting and field trip information and (4) for instructions on how to report sightings. To contact the Science Museum, call 896-5200.

Highlights of reports received October 29 through November 5 from the Niagara Frontier Region include NORTHERN GANNET, SABINE'S GULL, EVENING GROSBEAK, PINE SISKIN, SNOW BUNTING and NORTHERN GOSHAWK.


The November influx of gulls to the Niagara River has started. October 31 and November 1, juvenile SABINE'S GULL in the Niagara Falls gorge, with 3 LITTLE GULLS and L. BLACK-B. GULL, plus COMMON GOLDENEYE and PIED-BILLED GREBE. Another LITTLE GULL on the upper river a Beaver Island State Park on November 3 and 4, and 2 LITTLE GULLS on the lower river at Lewiston.

Other arriving winter visitors across the region - one EVENING GROSBEAK at a feeder in the Town of Colden. PINE SISKIN with AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES in Holland. Three SNOW BUNTINGS on Housington Road in Cherry Creek. AMER. TREE SPARROWS in the Iroquois Refuge, and a NORTHERN HORNED LARK in the Town of Yates.

November 1, on Wolf Run in Allegany State Park, a passing NORTHERN GOSHAWK, plus NORTHERN SHRIKE, HERMIT THRUSH, EASTERN MEADOWLARK and flocks of EASTERN BLUEBIRDS and DARK-
EYED JUNCOS. Also, a MERLIN at Holt Run in the park.

From East Aurora, October 28 and 31, a reported NORTHERN GOSHAWK on Reiter Road, one mile south of Route 20A.

Also this week, MERLIN at Shirley and Bailey Avenue in Buffalo. FOX SPARROWS still at several feeders, along with RED-BELLIED WDPKRS., TUFTED TITMICE, WHITE-THR. SPARROWS and WHITE-CR. SPARROWS. At Fort Erie, Ontario, numbers of SURF SCOTERS and BLACK SCOTERS. And at the Robert Moses parkway viewing area in Niagara Falls, New York, 10 CANVASBACKS and several RING-NECKED DUCKS, with GREATER SCAUP and LESSER SCAUP.

Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space: Seattle Mobility Plan

Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space: Seattle Mobility Plan

Active Transportation For America Report : TreeHugger

Active Transportation For America Report : TreeHugger

BookCrossing - The World's Biggest Free Book Club - Catch and Release Used Books

BookCrossing - The World's Biggest Free Book Club - Catch and Release Used Books
Just signed up to participate in Bookcrossing after finding the site on Postcrossing where I recently sent a postcard to the Netherlands.

I like the idea of a random book being found just when I need it. Click the title above to learn more and join. Right now, I'm the only one playing in Niagara Falls, NY.

Here are the simple instructions, as posted on the website:
Grab a book, any book.

Register it with www.bookcrossing.com and jot its unique BookCrossing ID (BCID) down in the book, along with the website url Get nifty labels here or here. (If it's already a BookCrossing book, you can skip this step.)

Read your book and then use the BCID to make a journal entry on it. You'll find a place to do that here on the home page or through the link on the left side bar.

Release the book out into the wild and wait for it to write home to you. (You can also give the book to a friend, send it on a book ring etc-- just be sure to make a release note on it when you send it off into the world.)

Sounds fun, doesn't it?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Monday, November 2, 2009

Leadership Niagara and the Parkway Preservation Committee

Bob, I have a prior commitment that evening and am unable to attend the event.

I would have sold/purchased tickets for employees of my husband's company, but LN has never recognized EHA as my sponsor, except for my email. I originally applied to LN under Wild Ones, however, EHA sponsored me when I sent my "tuition" in. EHA was with me at the opening "retreat." To my knowledge, tuition is same for everyone.

I'm only supplying a basket under Wild Ones because I enjoyed all of my classmates and found the opportunity to
experience LN enlightening.

Just as point of interest: If you cross reference the members and officers of Niagara USA Chamber here: http://niagarachamber.org/membership.html with the members of this organization: http://www.parkwaypreservation.com/committee.shtml

you may be as surprised and as disappointed as I am.

Response To Chris Brown As it Relates to Politics, Leadership-Elected or Not- and the Robert Moses Parkway

When the small businesses of Niagara Falls are paying $14.00/1,000 more in taxes than the residents, the city has an obligation to support every business district. The Robert Moses bypasses every one. It's time for our elected to stand behind their small businesses.

Perhaps a passage from the Buffalo Niagara Partnership's Blue Print Buffalo, Regional Strategies and Local Tools for Reclaiming Vacant Properties in the City and Suburbs of Buffalo will be more effective?

Doesn't Niagara Co. Legislature hold a membership in the Buffalo Niagara Partnership? Does the BNP need to "get real?"

The Buffalo Niagara Partnership quotes...the Conservation Fund and the Trust for Public Land!

page 73.
"Green Infrastructure and Green Printing

According to the Conservation Fund (www.conservation.org), green infrastructure is a strategically planned and locally managed network of protected green space with multiple purposes. Green infrastructure includes a wide range of landscapes, such as natural areas (wetlands, woodlands, waterways, and wildlife habitat); public and private conservation lands (nature preserves, wildlife corridors, greenways, and parks); and public and private working lands of conservation value (forests, farms, and ranches). These landscape hubs are then linked with a network of trails and greenways.

Principles of green infrastructure also translate well for urban and suburban communities. The Trust for Public Land (www.tpl.org) employs a strategic planning process they call green printing that integrates these networks of open space, parks, and greenways into community land-use plans. They use state-of-the-art GIS models to inventory and analyze community data and then design maps that can guide the community’s vision for growth and redevelopment along with protecting recreational opportunities, sensitive natural areas, and farmland. Beyond the mapping and planning, TPL works with communities to secure resources for land acquisition, land stewardship, and program administration.

Green infrastructure could easily become the cornerstone initiative of Buffalo’s land bank. By following a community-driven green print plan, the land bank could work closely with civic leaders, residents, and property owners to identify and select neighborhoods and properties; target the tax-delinquent and seriously blighted properties; and provide incentives for voluntary acquisitions. While green infrastructure might be an interim use (20+ years) for some properties, Buffalo’s weak housing and business markets mean that many of these sites will remain dedicated parks and pathways. Green-infrastructure planning enables the city to prioritize lands it would like to see remain green in perpetuity and to restore natural features of the land (i.e., daylighting buried streams, restoration of floodplains that are currently developed, reawakening industrial waterfronts as greenways and river walks).

The “greening” process will interact and overlap with efforts..."

Green Spaces Are Not A Luxury, Study Shows 15 out of 24 Major Physical Diseases Are Significantly Lowered


Thursday, 15 October 2009 15:19 UK

Green spaces 'improve health'

Illustration Omitted: Oak tree on a hill. The best health benefits come from living less than a kilometre (0.62miles) from a green space

There is more evidence that living near a 'green space' has health benefits.

Research in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health says the impact is particularly noticeable in reducing rates of mental ill health.

The annual rates of 15 out of 24 major physical diseases were also significantly lower among those living closer to green spaces.

One environmental expert said the study confirmed that green spaces create 'oases' of improved health around them.

The researchers from the VU University Medical Centre in Amsterdam looked at the health records of 350,000 people registered with 195 family doctors across the Netherlands.

Only people who had been registered with their GP for longer than 12 months were included because the study assumed this was the minimum amount of time people would have to live in an environment before any effect of it would be noticeable.

Health impact

The percentages of green space within a one and three kilometre (0.62 and 1.86 miles) radius of their home were calculated using their postcode.

On average, green space accounted for 42% of the residential area within one kilometre (0.62 miles) radius and almost 61% within a three kilometre (1.86 miles) radius of people's homes.

Coronary heart disease
Neck, shoulder, back, wrist and hand complaints
Depression and anxiety
Respiratory infections and asthma
Migraine and vertigo
Stomach bugs and urinary tract infections
Unexplained physical symptoms

And the annual rates for 24 diseases in 7 different categories were calculated.

The health benefits for most of the diseases were only seen when the greenery was within a one kilometre ( 0.62 miles ) radius of the home.

The exceptions to this were anxiety disorders, infectious diseases of the digestive system and medically unexplained physical symptoms which were seen to benefit even when the green spaces were within three kilometres of the home.

The biggest impact was on anxiety disorders and depression.

Anxiety disorders

The annual prevalence of anxiety disorders for those living in a residential area containing 10% of green space within a one kilometre (0.62 miles) radius of their home was 26 per 1000 whereas for those living in an area containing 90% of green space it was 18 per 1000.

For depression the rates were 32 per 1000 for the people in the more built up areas and 24 per 1000 for those in the greener areas.

The researchers also showed that this relation was strongest for children younger than 12.

They were 21% less likely to suffer from depression in the greener areas.

Two unexpected findings were that the greener spaces did not show benefits for high blood pressure and that the relation appeared stronger for people aged 46 to 65 than for the elderly.

The researchers think the green spaces help recovery from stress and offer greater opportunities for social contacts.

They say the free physical exercise and better air quality could also contribute.

Dr Jolanda Maas of the VU University Medical Centre in Amsterdam, said: "It clearly shows that green spaces are not just a luxury but they relate directly to diseases and the way people feel in their living environments."

"Most of the diseases which are related to green spaces are diseases which are highly prevalent and costly to treat so policy makers need to realise that this is something they may be able to diminish with green spaces."

Professor Barbara Maher of the Lancaster Environment Centre said the study confirmed that green spaces create oases of improved health around them especially for children.

She said: "At least part of this 'oasis' effect probably reflects changes in air quality.

"Anything that reduces our exposure to the modern-day 'cocktail' of atmospheric pollutants has got to be a good thing."

Niagara County Standing Committee - Niagara River Greenway

(Pursuant To Host Community Relicensing Settlement Agreement
Addressing Non-License Terms and Conditions Dated June 27, 2005)

The Host Community Relicensing Settlement Agreement Addressing Non-License Terms and Conditions dated June 27, 2005 (the AHCRSA@) provides for organization of the Host Community Greenway Fund Standing Committee (>HC Committee=) to administer and oversee projects financed by The Greenway Recreation/Tourism Fund. (Section 7 of the Host Community Settlement Agreement is attached hereto as Appendix A). The HC Committee has sole responsibility for selecting projects to be financed in whole or in part by the Greenway Recreation/Tourism Fund pursuant to the HCRSA.
Host Communities B Vehicle for Participation and Inter-Community Relations
The Power Authority and the Host Communities in a manner approved by the Host Communities and in accordance with the by-laws of the Niagara Power Coalition (ANPC@) or a successor agreement, if applicable, governing such establishment; shall establish the Greenway Recreation/Tourism Fund. It is understood, however, that the Power Authority has had no role in development of the Niagara Power Coalition by-laws.
Standing Committee Membership
Each Host Community shall have one vote and designate a member to serve on the AHC Committee@ and an alternate to serve in case the principal member cannot attend a particular meeting or is unable to fulfill his or her duties. The Power Authority shall similarly have one vote and designate a member and an alternate. To the extent practicable and consistent with the laws and rules governing each Host Community and the Power Authority, each principal and alternate member shall be authorized to act on behalf of his or her respective entity.

The AHC Committee@ shall convene quarterly and more frequently as necessary. A quorum for all meetings shall be no fewer than six (6) members. Members shall be notified of all meetings either by adoption of a regular schedule of meetings or, unless otherwise agreed, by ten (10) days= notice[1] of individual meetings. Notwithstanding the preceding sentence, the Chairperson or two (2) other members may call a special meeting of the AHC Committee@ on not less than two (2) days= written notice to all members. Meetings shall be open to the public. The Power Authority will undertake to include notice of meetings on the Niagara relicensing website (http://niagara.nypa.gov/) or successor website; but failure to include such notice shall not be grounds for invalidation of a meeting or action taken at such meeting if other notice has been provided. Minutes of meetings will be recorded and the Power Authority will post such minutes to the website. If a member or an alternate is unable to attend a meeting in person, the member or alternate can participate in the AHC Committee@ meeting, including the Standing Committee=s deliberations, by telephone or other real-time method.

Committee Procedures
The AHC Committee@ shall work in a cooperative manner and shall make a concerted effort to achieve consensus in all decisions. For matters other than (a) determining the consistency with the Niagara River Greenway of proposed projects with the criteria set forth in the HCRSA, (b) identifying projects to receive funding and determining the appropriate level of funding pursuant to AFurther Selection and Funding@ below, and (c) amendment of this Protocol below; if the members cannot in good faith achieve consensus on their first attempt to decide on a particular matter, the decision at issue shall be made by majority vote of all members, not simply a majority of those present. In the event of a tie vote on any matter, such tie shall be deemed a negative result.

Consistency Determination
To be eligible for funding, a project must meet the consistency criteria described in the HCRSA. In the event that the AHC Committee@ should fail to reach consensus on whether a project meets such consistency criteria at two meetings separated by a period of not less than thirty (30) days, the project may still be eligible for selection and funding, as described later in this section, under the following circumstances. At the second of the two aforementioned meetings of the AHC Committee,@ the members who do not believe that a project is consistent shall then, if they have not already done so, articulate their reasons orally or in writing. (Every effort should be made to provide the reasons at least one (1) week prior to the second meeting.) Proponents of the project at issue shall have a like opportunity to respond to such statement of reasons. Following such statements and responses, each member of the AHC Committee@ shall state such member=s position on the issue of consistency of the proposed project. If Aconsensus@ is still not achieved, then and in such event, the following procedures shall apply:
The AHC Committee@ shall vote and if a minimum of Five (5) members of the AHC Committee@ shall determine that a project is consistent with the Greenway Plan, then the proposed project shall be deemed consistent with the Greenway Plan and shall be eligible for Selection and Funding.

Criteria for Project Approval
The criteria for projects set forth in Section 7.3 of the HCRSA (included in Appendix A) shall be the bases for project approval by the AHC Committee.@

Further Selection and Funding
From the projects that have been determined to be consistent, as described in the preceding subsections on ACommittee Procedures,@ the Host Community Sponsor(s) of each project shall be solely responsible for: (a) identifying projects that will receive funding; and (b) determining the appropriate level of funding for each selected project.
Chairperson, Vice Chairperson and Secretary
At the first meeting and annually thereafter, the members shall select a Chairperson and Vice Chairperson from among the membership. The Chairperson shall conduct the meeting and serve as a spokesperson for the AHC Committee.@ In the absence of the Chairperson, the Vice Chairperson shall substitute for the Chairperson. The Power Authority representative may not hold the office of either Chairperson or Vice Chairperson. In the event that a proposed project under consideration is sponsored by the entity represented by the Chairperson, the Vice Chairperson shall fulfill the Chairperson's obligations with respect to such consideration. A Secretary shall also be selected to keep minutes and to maintain the AHC Committee=s@ records.
Sponsorship and Funding of Proposed Projects

Host Communities may sponsor their own proposed projects consistent with Section 7 of the HCRSA and the NPC by-laws referenced therein or a successor agreement, if applicable, governing such matters. Two or more Host Communities may propose joint projects, pooling their respective portions of the Greenway Recreation/Tourism funding.
Entities other than Host Communities may offer projects to the AHC Committee@ provided that such projects are consistent with the geographical requirements of Section 7 of the AHCRSA@. Such entities shall do so by seeking the sponsorship of the Host Community within whose geographical boundaries the proposed project would be located. No such project shall be entertained in the absence of such sponsorship and, subject to the conditions stated below in this paragraph, no such project shall be approved over the objection of the Host Community within whose geographical boundaries the proposed project would be located; provided, however, that, if a particular Host Community=s objection is to the contribution of funds otherwise available to such Host Community, such project may be approved by decision of the remaining AHC Committee@ members if it is determined other funds would be used for such project. The County of Niagara=s authority to object pursuant to this paragraph shall not apply where the proposed project is located within the geographical boundaries of any of the other six (6) Host Communities, provided that the project is Aconsistent,@ as described in this Protocol, does not require uses of its funds and complies with all applicable local, State and Federal laws, rules and regulations, and the authority of any of the other six (6) Host Communities to object shall not apply to a County-sponsored project located within such other Host Community=s individual geographical boundaries, provided that the project is Aconsistent,@ as described in this Protocol, and does not require use of its funds and complies with all applicable local, State and Federal laws, rules and regulations.

Nothing contained in this Protocol shall be construed as authorizing any diminution in the percentage funding allocations established in the by-laws of the Niagara Power Coalition.

Written evidence of consultation with Niagara River Greenway Commission (but only if such Commission is still active in accordance with the purpose for which it was created), chief elected official, or designated representative, of any affected municipal, county, tribal entity and appropriate State and Federal agencies (collectively, AConsulting Parties@), shall be as follows:
In such consultation, applicant shall have provided a description of the project, how it is consistent with the Greenway Plan, and maps or drawings showing all phases. Consultation period shall end ninety days after initiated whether or not a response is received and whether or not the consulting party agrees the project is consistent and consultation shall be considered complete.

If project proponent receives comments from Consulting Parties, project proponent shall indicate how comments were addressed. (In Aaddressing@ comments, project proponent should demonstrate that it has understanding of comments and should indicate whether proponent agrees or disagrees with comments and why. It is not required that proponent agree with Consulting Parties; but, if proponent has changed proposal to accommodate comments, they should be noted.)

Implementation of Projects (Disbursement of Funds and Monitoring)
On or before the payment dates specified in the HC Settlement Agreement, the Power Authority shall deposit $3 million into the Greenway Recreation/Tourism Fund; as established by resolution of the AHC Committee@ and approved by the Host Communities. The Greenway Recreation/Tourism Fund amounts shall be deposited in a manner consistent with the ABanking Arrangements and Procedures@ section below and the amounts shall remain on deposit until decisions are made as to their use pursuant to this AHC Committee@ Protocol and funds are released as provided below.

Banking Arrangements and Procedures Banking arrangements for the Greenway Recreation/Tourism Fund are as follows:
A master account consisting of a AClearing Account@ and seven (7) individual AFund Accounts@ one for each of the seven (7) Host Communities shall be established in a commercial bank (the ABank@) within Niagara County. Both types of accounts shall be interest-bearing accounts.

A Finance Committee, consisting of three (3) AHC Committee@ members= representatives shall oversee the Clearing Account and the Fund Accounts.
Each Host Community shall deposit into the Clearing Account its specified share of administrative expenses of the AHC Committee,@ determined pursuant to the percentage allocations stated in the NPC by-laws or a successor agreement, if applicable, to be used toward such administrative expenses. Issuance of checks for administrative expenses of the Standing Committee shall require the signature of the Chairperson (who shall not be a member of the Finance Committee) and one member of the Finance Committee.

The Power Authority shall make its deposits of $3 million per year into the Clearing Account.
As soon as practicable after receipt of the Power Authority deposit, the Bank shall, unless otherwise directed by all eight (8) members of the AHC Committee,@ transfer the funds from the Clearing Account to each of the Host Communities Fund Account, pursuant to the percentage allocations stated in the NPC by-laws or a successor agreement, if applicable. To the extent that the Bank requires any authorization to make such transfers, any member of the Finance Committee, is authorized to direct such transfers.
Each of the seven (7) Host Community members shall be an authorized signatory for its individual Fund Account.

Funds not used in one year by a Host Community shall remain in that Host Community=s Fund Account and be available to future projects of that Host Community. Use of funds for on-going costs, such as debt service, that have previously been approved as part of project costs, shall not require separate approval before each release. Administrative costs of the Standing Committee not otherwise recovered as part of project costs described above shall be paid by the seven (7) Host Communities in accordance with the percentages established in the NPC by-laws or a successor agreement, if applicable, governing such matters as among the Host Communities. Such administrative costs may be paid from the interest accumulated on the funds on deposit and, if such funds are not adequate to cover such costs, from the principal on deposit.

Release of Funds
Issuance of a check for a particular project shall require the signature of the Host Community sponsor of the project from their individual Host Community Fund Account.
Funds shall be released for approved projects from the Host Community=s Sponsors relevant Fund Account(s) within thirty (30) days of approval and selection and funding. It is anticipated that, for most projects, a single check will be issued each year for each project. The sponsor shall be responsible for ensuring that all necessary documentation (e.g., individual invoices) is retained for later reporting and auditing. No check will be issued in support of a project in a successive year until an annual report from the project sponsor, containing the information required by Section 7.5 of the HCRSA, is provided to the AHC Committee.@
Qualifying project costs shall consist of costs consistent with the limitations of Section 7.3 of the HCRSA, including but not limited to:
1. Costs associated with planning and development of approved projects.
2. Personnel costs directly associated with planning, development and implementation of approved projects.
3. Costs associated with approved construction and/or rehabilitation of the projects.
4. Operation and maintenance costs, including but not limited to project-related and Standing Committee administrative costs, on a case-by-case basis for approved projects.
During construction of any project and longer if so required by the AHC Committee,@ the project sponsor shall provide the AHC Committee@ with a quarterly report detailing the status of the project, including its operations and a summary of all fund expenditures. Thereafter, such report shall be made annually. The AHC Committee,@ at the expense of the project and consistent with Section 7.4 of the HCRSA, shall monitor and audit the construction process to ensure proper use of Greenway Recreation/Tourism Fund.

General Audit
A program and financial audit of the Standing Committee shall occur every three years. The audit shall be conducted by the New York Office of State Comptroller or an independent auditor agreed upon by all members of the Standing Committee

The project sponsor shall be responsible for reimbursing the Greenway Recreation/Tourism Fund for any improper use of funds on a project or otherwise as determined by a program or financial audit. Such sponsor shall forfeit access to the fund until reimbursement is complete.

Relationship to Other Procedures
Nothing contained herein and no statement or writing heretofore made, or action heretofore taken or not taken, by or on behalf of any or all of the Host Communities shall be construed as agreement by the Host Communities to or acceptance by the Host Communities of the current ANiagara Power Project Relicensing Settlement, Greenway Funds B Standing Committee Protocol,@ developed and agreed to by any standing committees other than this AHC Committee,@ or any future version thereof.

Amendment of Protocol
Except as described below, in the event that one or more members propose to amend this Protocol, the members shall work in a cooperative manner and shall make a concerted effort to achieve consensus as to such amendment. In the event that the members are unable to achieve consensus as to an amendment, the amendment may be adopted by an affirmative vote of five (5) members.
No amendment to any section of this protocol can be made if such amendment would be contrary to the HCRSA of 2005.

Consistency Determination/Further Selection and Funding
Any amendment to the AConsistency Determination@ & AFurther Selection and Funding@ provisions shall require the members to make a concerted effort to achieve consensus as to such amendment and, if the members are unable to achieve consensus, then an affirmative vote of 6 members shall be required to amend either of these two provisions.

[1] Except where preceded by Abusiness,@ all references in this document to Adays@ shall be understood as signifying calendar days.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Buffalo and Erie County Greenway Fund Standing Committee Grant Guidelines & Application

Buffalo and Erie County Greenway Fund Standing Committee

Grant Guidelines & Application

I. Introduction

These Eligibility Requirements, Guidelines, Priorities, Schedule and Application will be used by the Buffalo and Erie County Greenway Fund Standing Committee (“Standing Committee”) to make grants from the Buffalo and Erie County Greenway Fund (Fund) that will be made available to it from the New York Power Authority (NYPA) pursuant to the Settlement Agreement entered into between the NYPA, the County of Erie (the County), the City of Buffalo (the City) and the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy (BOPC) as part of the relicensing of the Niagara Power Project.

The NYPA will pay a Trustee to be selected by the Standing Committee the sum of $2 million per year for each of the next fifty years or until 2057. The Fund is to be used to improve and enhance the Niagara River Greenway as more fully described in the Settlement Agreement, the Greenway Plan that was approved by the Niagara River Greenway Commission, and in accordance with these Eligibility Requirements, Guidelines, Priorities, Schedule and Application.

The Mayor of the City of Buffalo, the County Executive of the County of Erie, the NYPA, and the BOPC shall each appoint a Standing Committee representative and an alternate representative. The Standing Committee Chairmanship shall be rotating.

The four standing committees formed by the Niagara Power Project Relicensing Settlement Agreements considered the adoption of “Standing Committee Protocols” that establishes a common approach for the operation of each Standing Committee. The Standing Committee has, by consensus, adopted the Standing Committee Protocols dated October 17, 2007 and these Eligibility Requirements, Guidelines, Priorities, Schedule and Application. These Eligibility Requirements, Guidelines, Priorities, Schedule and Application are deemed to be in compliance with the Standing Committee Protocols.

II. Funding Priorities & Uses

Priority shall be given to the projects that achieve the most favorable balance of grant priorities from among eligible projects. It is not expected or required that any one project achieve all priorities. The Standing Committee will determine which project or projects have the most positive impacts. The Standing Committee reserves the right to not fund any or all projects in a grant cycle if it determines that the projects do not have sufficient positive impact to merit an award.

1. Public Access to the Waterfront- Priority will be given to capital projects that connect existing park and greenway resources through the development of way finding, new trails, paths or other amenities;

2. Improving and Sustaining Existing Resources- Priority will be given to capital projects that open up or improve inaccessible or underutilized existing parks, park facilities or natural features in the Niagara River Greenway area of Erie County;

3. Maximization of Impact- Priority will be given to projects that bring resources such as grant funds, private philanthropy, or corporate partnerships;

4. Consistency with Master Plans- Implementation of the Committee member’s adopted Master Plan(s);

5. Accepted Use of Funds- Funds may be used for the following costs of approved projects:

a. Capital improvements;

b. Environmental improvements including legal, architecture, planning investigation or remediation;

c. Operating expenses including staff costs, supplies and services;

d. Professional consultant services;

e. Promotional services related to approved projects to promote public awareness of the Greenway and its resources, and;

f. Land acquisition.

6. Prohibited Uses of Funds-

Funds may not be used to conduct any lobbying activities as such term is defined in the Internal Revenue Code;

Funds may not be used to support or oppose any candidate for public office;

Funds may not be used to support, oppose or participate in litigation;

Funds may not be used to support any fund raising activity of any organization;

Funds may not be used to create or enhance an endowment for any organization;

Funds may not be used to pay prior debts, to satisfy any bankruptcy order, to satisfy a claim for damages made by an employee, vendor or other third party or to pay a settlement or judgment related to litigation;

Funds may not be used to pay the personal expenses of any person;

Funds may not be used to pay for, or reimburse any person for travel related expenses, for expenses associated with attendance at a conference, trade show or exhibition or for the costs associated with educational activities;

Funds may not be used to pay the salary or benefits of any employee of any city, town, village or county, except as outlined in 5(c);

Funds may not be used to carry out, support or advance or to oppose any religious activity or purpose.

7. Payment Arrangements- The Standing Committee reserves the right to pay awards in draws, to make partial payments, and to fund projects in whole or in part. Grant payments may be withheld and the grant may be cancelled if conditions or requirements associated with the grant are not achieved.

8. Multi-Year Projects- An applicant may request funds for a single project that will be spent over a number of years, however, the Standing Committee will not fund a single project or single phase of a project that cannot be completed over a five-year period or that seeks more than five years of funding from the Standing Committee.

The Standing Committee may make a contingent future year award that depends upon the applicant achieving certain milestones such as obtaining additional funding from sources other than the Standing Committee. If the milestones are not achieved the award may be cancelled, or extended if the Standing Committee determines that such an extension with new milestones is in the best interest of the Greenway.

Future and multi-year commitments will be limited to no more, in the aggregate, than 20% of a future year’s fund. Debt service, including principal and interest, is an eligible use of funds if part of a multi-year commitment.

III. Eligibility Requirements

1. Applicant Legal Status- Applications may be submitted by Standing Committee members, individuals or organizations with an interest in the Erie County section of the Greenway. Applicants must be or be partnered with at the time of the submission:

a. A non-for-profit corporation that has received a determination letter from the Internal Revenue Service stating that it is a 501(c)(3) entity;

b. A city, town, village or county located in Erie County;

c. A public benefit corporation organized under the laws of New York State;

d. The City of Buffalo, the County of Erie and the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy can apply for funding and are not precluded from participating in the decision making by reason of such application.

Project Location- Projects must be located within the boundaries established by the Niagara River Greenway Commission Plan, which includes but is not limited to the Olmsted Park and Parkway system in the City of Buffalo.

Ability to Proceed with Project

Applicant must demonstrate that they have or will have the ability to proceed with the project within the time frame described in the application;

Ability to proceed can be demonstrated by site control, an option to obtain site control, a letter(s) of commitment from other funders, a well conceived, realistic plan to obtain funds, approval from governmental agencies and support from neighborhood and community groups who will be impacted by the project;

Ability to proceed in most instances will involve more than one of the above factors and may involve other factors. The application must demonstrate that the project will not be prevented from moving forward as planned.

IV. Pre-Application Consultation

A. Prior to submission to the Standing Committee, applicants are required to submit their proposal for consultation to:
(1) The Niagara River Greenway Commission;
(2) The chief elected officer, or a designated representative, of any municipal, county and Indian nation affected by the proposed project; and
(3) Appropriate State and Federal agencies, (It is recognized that it may be difficult to identify the appropriate state and federal agencies for purposes of consultation. The standing committees will be flexible in administering this requirement and will provide guidance to the extent they can on state and federal agencies to be consulted).
(4) The BOPC if the proposed project is located on or will impact any Olmsted Park or Parkway System.

B. Information to be supplied to Consulting Parties is expected to include, at a minimum:
1.) A description of the project including any necessary maps and drawings as well as any past or subsequent phases;
2.) A description of how the proposed project is consistent with the Niagara River Greenway Plan (NRGP) and;
3.) A description of how the proposed project is consistent with other applicable legal requirements.

Project proponents shall submit to the Consulting Parties information as outlined in the above paragraph. The consultation period will officially end 90 days after the project proponent initiates consultation unless comments are received sooner.

It is strongly encouraged that applicants notify the Standing Committee when they begin the consultation process with the Greenway Commission and other Consulting Parties.


Funding requests may be proposed by standing committee members or by individuals and organizations with an interest in the Greenway. Funds will be awarded to eligible applicants who submit a written application. The application must be complete and submitted on or before the established deadline.

1. Applicants will provide:
(a) Organization name and mailing address;
(b)Federal ID number and/or Charities Registration number;
(c) Point of contact for the project.

The Standing Committee requires Greenway project funding requests to include written documentation of the following:

2. Evidence of consultation with: (a) the Niagara River Greenway Commission regarding a project’s consistency with the NRGP; (b) the chief elected officer, or a designated representative, of any municipal, county and Indian nation affected by the proposed project; and (c) appropriate State and Federal agencies (collectively, Consulting Parties as provided for in Article V).

For purposes of this section, evidence of consultation will include:
(a) A list of all materials submitted to the Consulting Parties by the project proponent including a copy of the Application submitted to the Niagara River Greenway Commission;
(b) Copies of written comments provided by Consulting Parties to the project proponent; and
(c) Documentation describing the manner in which the project proponent addressed the Consulting Parties’ comments. In “addressing” comments from a consulted party, the project proponent should demonstrate that it has an understanding of the comments and should indicate whether the proponent agrees or disagrees with the comments and why. It is not required that the proponent agree with the consulted party. However, if the proponent has changed its proposal to accommodate a comment, this accommodation should be noted.

3. An operation and maintenance plan for the proposed project or an explanation as to why an operation and maintenance plan is not needed for the proposed project;

4. A description of the project’s consistency with the NRGP, including a discussion of the project’s relationship to the principles, goals, and criteria established by the NRGP;

5. A description of the project’s consistency with other State and Federal laws or regulations where applicable;

6. A description of the project proponent’s efforts and/or opportunities to obtain matching funds;

7. A statement that the Greenway funds requested will not be used to defray: (1) any obligation existing as of August 31, 2007 or (2) operation and maintenance costs associated with any project existing as of August 31, 2007;

8. A description of current and proposed land ownership associated with the project; and

9. An overall project budget and cash flow summary including all phases for which relicensing greenway funds would be sought.

10. Applications should be submitted to:
Robert Daly
New York Power Authority
5777 Lewiston Road, LPGP
Lewiston, NY 14092

VI. Standing Committee Approval Required
Funds will only be awarded to applicants who are approved for funding by the Standing Committee as provided for in Part III, IV and V.

VII. Procedures to Determine Funding Approval
Project funding will be determined by the Standing Committee as provided for in this section and based on a projects consistency with the Greenway Plan, meeting Eligibility Requirements in Section III and Funding Priorities in Section II.
1. The Standing Committee shall seek to make all funding decisions by consensus of its four members as the term consensus is defined in the Standing Committee Protocol.

2. If there is not a consensus of the members the following procedure shall be used;
a. If one or more members do not support the project because they do not believe the project is consistent with the Greenway Plan, the project shall not be considered for funding until at least thirty days have passed. At the next meeting after the thirty day period, a project may be re-considered by the Standing Committee and deemed to be consistent with the Greenway Plan if it either:
i. Receives a consensus of support for consistency by all members of the Standing Committee, or;
ii. Three Standing Committee members support the project as consistent and the Greenway Commission indicates the project is consistent with the Greenway Plan.
b. If a project is not determined to be consistent with the Greenway Plan as outlined above, the project shall be considered not consistent with the Greenway plan and thus not eligible for funding;

c. From the projects that have been determined consistent with the Greenway Plan, the standing committee will:
(1) Identify projects that will receive funding; and
(2) Determine the appropriate level of funding for each selected project.
The standing committee will strive to reach consensus on such decisions. If, after attempts at two standing committee meetings, separated by a period of not less than 30 days, a consensus of the members can not be reached, then a majority vote of the standing committee will be required to identify projects for funding and establish associated funding levels. The standing committee will advise the project proponents of the decision of the standing committees on the consistency of each proposal and if the project will be funded.

3. The Standing Committee will make every effort to ensure that the projects supported by this Fund represent the priorities, mission and geography of the City, the County and BOPC with respect to the definition of the boundary of the Niagara River Greenway Plan and the Principles, Goals and Criteria contained therein, as determined by the Committee. A review of the effort will be undertaken after every three years of the standing committee operations if requested by either the City, the County, or BOPC. The basis on which further funding decisions are made will be unanimously agreed upon by these three parties and these protocols will be amended as necessary.

VIII. Grant Schedule 2009

December 10, 2008 Deadline for submission of applications.

To Be Announced Meeting for public presentations of submitted projects

February 10, 2009 Announcements of Awards.

Applications should be submitted to:
Robert Daly
New York Power Authority
5777 Lewiston Road, LPGP
Lewiston, NY 14092

Standing Committee Members:

New York Power Authority
Robert Daly
5777 Lewiston Road, LPGP
Lewiston, NY 14092
(716) 286-6912

County of Erie
Holly A. Sinnott, Commissioner
Department of Environment and Planning
Edward A. Rath Building
95 Franklin Street
Buffalo NY 14202
(716) 858-6716

Staff Contact: William Murray, Deputy Commissioner
(716) 858-4809

Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy
84 Parkside Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14214
Attn: Anne Harding Joyce
716-838-1249 ext 10 for Joanne Marzullo

City of Buffalo
Karen Stanley Fleming
Director of Urban Affairs
Department of Administration, Finance, Policy and Urban Affairs
Room 203 Buffalo City Hall
65 Niagara Square
Buffalo, NY 14202
(716)851 5713