Assemblyman David Seaman of Lockport and Assembly candidate Robert A. Daly of Niagara Falls proposed Thursday that the observation tower at the American Falls be torn down and that a new system of access be built to reach the Niagara River gorge and the U.S. landing for Maid of the Mist boats.
Demolition of the observation tower is one of the recommendations in an eight-point "Economic Development Proposal to Rebuild the Niagara Frontier," issued Thursday by Seaman and Daly.
The two men are Republican candidates for election to the State Assembly in the Nov. 5 general election. If Democrats retain their current control of the Assembly, the Republicans' proposals face an uncertain future.
Seaman and Daly said they would ask the New York Power Authority to pay for tearing down the observation tower "and to establish a partnership with the Maid of the Mist Corp. to fund a new system for efficiently and aesthetically moving tourists to the boat landing on the U.S. side of the gorge."
"While the U.S. side of the Falls is much more uncluttered than the Canadian side," they said, "the tower which provides access to the Maid of the Mist and provides a view back to the U.S. falls is unsightly and badly needs repainting.
"The cost of removing the paint and repainting the tower is prohibitive because of the potential environmental damage to the river below and physical danger to the workers. It has been estimated that removal of the tower would cost approximately $3-million to $5-million, while repainting the structure would also be in the range of $3-million to $5-million."
Dario A. Violanti, capital facilities manager for the Niagara Frontier State Parks, told members of the regional parks commission last week that earlier plans to repaint the observation tower had been canceled by officials in Albany.
Other recommendations in Seaman and Daly's proposals are:
Improve U.S. access to the Maid of the Mist boats by permitting tour buses to use the access road to the existing tower.
Transform part of a public parking lot in downtown Niagara Falls into a tourism information center and currency exchange.
Use money from the proposed Environmental Bond Act to redeem brownfields near the Falls and in the local Economic Development Zone.
Rebuild the broken lift bridge over the Erie Barge Canal at Exchange Street in Lockport and pinpoint the state's responsibility for construction and maintenance of other lift bridges over the canal.
Ask the Power Authority to create a recruitment fund of $200,000 to attract new businesses to Niagara County.
Support special legislation to provide $150,000 a year for three years for an advertising program to take advantage of the soon-to-be-opened gambling casino in Canada and to promote the county as a tourist destination.
Ask the Power Authority to establish a $500,000 fund for pre-employment training to prepare potential employees for major expansions and corporate relocations in Niagara County.