NIAGARA FALLS – Next year, the city will have a new a pocket park that’s being dubbed “Niagara Falls Adventure Park.”
The “family friendly” park will be constructed at 730 Cedar Ave., between Main Street and Portage Road, on the site of an already demolished home about a block behind City Hall.
The park will consist of a natural play area and will include features named for people and places from the Falls’ history. It has been designed to mimic the natural landscape of Niagara Falls.
There will be masses of white and blue flowering plants to create the “rapids,” a landscape of grassy mounds, boulders and other elements named for the Horseshoe, Bridal Veil and American falls, as well as a “Rainbow Bridge.”
There will also be tables made of barrels and named for Annie Edson Taylor, the first person to survive going over the falls in a barrel, as well as the “Nik Wallenda balance beam.”
Funding for the construction of the park comes from a grant awarded by the John R. Oishei Foundation. The city, through Mayor Paul A. Dyster’s Task Group to Create a Healthier Niagara Falls, the P2 Collaborative of Western New York and Niagara University applied for the grant together.
“Our task group was created to offer new healthy living opportunities in Niagara Falls. What was once an abandoned house will now be a place for children to play and neighbors to gather,” Dyster said in a written statement. “The city’s strong partnership with the Oishei Foundation, the P2 Collaborative and Niagara University is making a lasting improvement to this neighborhood.”
The total cost of construction will be $12,000.
The Oishei Foundation awarded a $300,000 grant to the applicants in 2011, and Niagara University serves as grant administrator.
The site was selected because it was already on the Community Development Department’s demolition list.
Residents of the neighborhood contributed to the design.
“For nearby residents, the demolition is not just about the knocking down of a vacant building. The property was also symbolic of the blight, neglect and criminal activity that plagued the neighborhood for a number of years,” said Dave Taylor, director of Niagara University’s Rev. Joseph L. Levesque Institute for Civic Engagement.
The home at the site was demolished in October by the city, which used federal funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant program.
Construction will take place in the spring.