The following resolution has been signed by The Niagara Falls City Council, The Main Street Business and Professional Association and the Niagara Falls Tourism Advisory Board.
WHEREAS: The lower Niagara River and the Niagara gorge is a natural wonder of international botanical, cultural, ecological, geological, and historical significance and remains a unique corridor of wilderness within our urban region; and
WHEREAS: The Robert Moses Gorge Parkway bypasses the entire Main Street Business District, Pine Avenue Business District, Niagara Street Business District, Third Street Business District, the Niagara Falls Downtown Business District, and the City’s core; and
WHEREAS: The Niagara Falls’ City Master Plan calls for miles of parkway removal and the Niagara Falls’ December, 2008 “A View of the Falls Final Report,” (page 51), USA Niagara has proposed the 6.5 mile section of the Robert Moses Parkway along the lower river gorge from Niagara Falls to Lewiston be removed with traffic channeled through the city’s center; and
WHEREAS: Eco-tourism is one of the fastest growing major trends in the U.S. and over 55 million U.S. travelers can be classified as eco-tourists who can be drawn to the area to create new economic opportunities; and
WHEREAS: Green Infrastructure Planning College Curriculum (page 10) notes there are economic reasons to protect “viewsheds” since they are important to attracting what are known as Heritage Tourists who come to see historic or culturally important sites spending, on average, two-and-a half times as much money than do other tourists; and
WHEREAS: The 32 member, Smart Growth Network’s (page 43-44) economic analysis concluded owners of small companies ranked recreation, parks, and open space as the highest priorities in choosing new locations for their businesses; and
WHEREAS: Niagara Falls and the Niagara River Region has been designated a National Heritage Area and removal of the Robert Moses Gorge Parkway is consistent with its goals; and
WHEREAS: Removal of the Robert Moses Gorge Parkway is consistent with the Niagara River Greenway Plan for the Region and New York State; and
WHEREAS: the New York Natural Heritage Program concludes the Niagara Gorge calcareous cliff community harboring some of the oldest trees (500-1,000 years old) in the state are threatened by adjacent upslope development (e.g. residential, agricultural, utility right-of-ways and roads) and its associated runoff and other habitat alteration (NYNHP Conservation Guide – Calcareous Cliff Community -page 2); and
WHEREAS: When land adjacent to a historic site is developed, it can mar or even destroy the integrity of the historic site and when these scenic vistas are lost, visitors may stop coming and residents will lose aspects of the landscape that they most value; and
WHEREAS: The people of our region as well as the people around the world should have an opportunity to experience this wonder in its natural and restored state, unmarked by destructive and unsightly development; and
WHEREAS: The Niagara Heritage Partnership’s online petition (www.niagaraheritage.org) and list of supporting organizations represents an informal marketing study of over 1 million people who support total gorge parkway removal; therefore, be it
RESOLVED that the Main Street Business and Professional Association strongly endorses four lane removal of the Robert Moses Gorge Parkway, from Niagara Falls, north, to the city line and the subsequent restoration of rhis land as a heritage natural area, as described within with the supporting documents attached; and therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Niagara Falls Tourism Advisory Board strongly endorses demapping the Robert Moses Gorge Parkway, remapping it as parkland, as the road is neither environmentally sound nor economically feasible, and notes that such closure is financially sound, more cost effective, a more sensible tourism strategy, and a timely economic stimulus for city tourism; and therefore; be it duly
RESOLVED and duly NOTED, that the Niagara Falls City Council endorsed this resolution on April 7, 2009.