Location of new police station in Falls park irks tourism leaders

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) – Critics of a new Niagara Falls Parks Police station say state officials are moving forward with the plan despite their opposition to having it built near the Niagara Gorge.

Tourism and business leaders in the city are furious about the new station, which is currently under construction. The state agency is moving from Goat Island to a more convenient and central location right along the gorge.

Lisa Vitello, Chairwoman of the Niagara Falls Tourism Advisory Board, says now that the state is finally moving forward with a plan to remove the Robert Moses Parkway and open up access to the gorge, the area will be prime real estate for tourists.

“The location of that police station is inappropriate,” she argued. “That space can be used for something that would benefit the community, benefit tourists.”

Wine on Third restaurant owner Shawn Weber agrees.

“Any number of things that would attract people down to the area that in turn would help the businesses in the area and help the overall economy. Having a police barracks with a few cops sitting there, I don’t see the benefit.”

Construction workers told News 4 that because of the concrete wall that will separate the police station from the trail and the gorge, it won’t be easily seen. But those who are opposed to the plan say even without the station being obtrusive, the location is still an issue.

It is still on the gorge edge; it is still a viewing area,” Vitello said. “When you have a piece of property like that, it’s a beautiful piece of property. It looks right over the skyline over Canada and over the weekends they have fireworks. I mean, there are a ton of things that you could do with that property.”

News 4 attempted to contact the New York State Parks Department about the plan, but they have not returned our calls.

Those opposed to the new police station are still fighting. If you’d like to sign their online petition, click here.

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