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June 15 possible date for Wallenda's wire-walk

Officials on both sides of the border have been discussing June 15 as a tentative date for Nik Wallenda's wire-walk across Niagara Falls.

The highly anticipated stunt may also happen at night, Wallenda's manager said, above an illuminated falls and before a national TV audience.

Officials from New York State Parks, Canada's Niagara Parks Commission and a TV network have been discussing June 15 as a tentative date, according to Niagara Falls, Ont., Mayor Jim Diodati.

But like Wallenda's manager, Diodati cautioned the date is not final and said other tentative dates have been scratched.

"June 15 has been in discussion, but nothing's been confirmed," Diodati said.

The stunt was originally thought to possibly happen in September, and then August, Diodati said, but officials cited conflicts with those dates.

Wallenda told the St. Catharines Standard on Wednesday that a specific date was selected more than a month ago and has been approved by Canadian officials and a TV network -- but not officials on the American side.

New York State Parks spokeswoman Angela P. Berti said state lawyers have been involved in finalizing the details but said she was unaware of the substance of the discussions.

Wallenda has not signed off on a final agreement between his company and the Parks Commission, interim Niagara Parks Commission Chairwoman Janice Thomson said. She said she believes Wallenda will sign off on the deal once he receives confirmation from New York state parks officials.

Officials on both sides of the border have been anxiously awaiting that date.

"We don't want to be scrambling," Diodati said. "We want to get the message out to the world."

John Percy, president and chief executive of the Niagara Tourism & Convention Corp., also said this week that marketing efforts have been limited because no final date has been selected.

Percy has said American officials would prefer a later date, possibly in September, because the American side has limited hotel rooms that are already booked for the summer tourist season.

But Diodati would prefer an earlier date that would act as a "catalyst" for a heightened season. "My feeling is, let's kick it off in a big way," he said.

Percy added that his staff would work to put on the event if an earlier date was selected.

Winston Simone, Wallenda's manager, said a date should be finalized early next week. "We're very close with everything," he said.

Simone also said agreements with the TV network to broadcast the walk and with the Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel to host Wallenda's training sessions are being finalized.

He also said Wallenda would like to walk his 1,800-foot-long cable across the falls at night.

"We would love it to be at night and have it be a prime-time special," Simone said.

email: cspecht@buffnews.com