Niagara Falls development projects get boosts from grants

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB)- Two economic development projects in Niagara Falls are getting a boost.

A city agency is funneling $400,000 dollars in grants into investments along Third and Niagara Streets.

“We’re a couple years behind Buffalo but we’re confident we’ll get there,” said Anthony Vilardo, the executive director of NFC Development Corporation, a non-profit city agency.

Vilardo is tasked with stimulating the city’s economy.

“We need to make sure our economy is diversified so we don’t fall into the same trap we fell into in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s when heavy industry left, we didn’t have anything to back fill,” said Vilardo.

The first grant is a $300,000 infusion for the Daredevil Water Park. The 40,000 square foot park will be built connected to the Sheraton on Third St., where there is now a roundabout for guests.

“It gives people a reason to not only come to Niagara Falls but stay overnight in Niagara Falls, and if they stay for one night maybe they stay for two,” said Geoffrey Reeds, the vice president of sales and marketing for American Niagara Hospitality.

He told News 4 the project will also create construction jobs and eventually about 40 full time positions at the park.

The grant shows the city’s support and is a small but important piece of the $20 million dollar budget.

“Everything helps,” said Reeds.

Vilardo told News 4 the agency tries to give development projects extra security.

“There tends to be a gap on some of these projects, they tend to be a little riskier, so we try to fill those gaps,’ said Vilardo.

NFC Development Corp. has awarded a $100,000 Market-Rate Rehabilitation grant to spur growth on Niagara St.

Savarino Companies and Buffalove Development are turning three vacant properties, 320-324 Niagara, into 10 market rate apartments.

“We need apartments down here for people to go shop and walk and work,” said Bernice Radle, owner of Buffalove Development.

A Community Beer Works brewery will be included on the first floor. It’s the first brewery built in the city in a generation.

Radle said they hope to break ground on the $3.4 million project as soon as possible.

“We’re excited to make our mark on Niagara Falls and really bring creativity and thoughtfulness to this project as a whole,” she said.

The grants aren’t paid out until the work is done.

NFC Development Corp. told News 4 their grants are funded by the Seneca Niagara Casino revenue, which is currently up in the air. Vilardo said they have the funds to continue without it for now but he hopes the state and Seneca Nation come to an agreement .

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