NIAGARA FALLS – A proposal to put on a free outdoor concert in downtown Niagara Falls this summer was shot down by city lawmakers on Monday night.
Mayor Paul A. Dyster’s administration pitched a concert for Old Falls Street, but concern about the $40,000 cost to the city generated concern among some members of the City Council.
The measure, which called for the city to pay for the performers and the stage, failed to get the three votes needed for approval during Monday’s Council meeting in City Hall. Under the proposal, the Hard Rock Cafe would have provided marketing, security and staffing for the event to be held on a yet-to-be-determined date.
Councilman Glenn A. Choolokian said he believes the city should try to find sponsors to pay for events like this. “I think this is something that we should not be spending money on,” Choolokian said.
Choolokian was joined by Councilman Andrew P. Touma in voting against it, while Councilman Robert A. Anderson said he opposed the expenditure but abstained from the vote. Council Chairman Charles A. Walker and Councilwoman Kristen M. Grandinetti voted in favor of spending the money for the concert.
Touma said he didn’t know exactly what the city would be paying for with its $40,000, adding he may reconsider his position if the cost were less or if he knew more about where the money was going. He also said he thought the city should reach out to local businesspeople who put on their own festivals, and that the Hard Rock should be able to find sponsors to help pay for the event.
The city put on the Hard Rock summer concert series for several years, most recently in 2012. The Hard Rock Cafe most recently held a free concert on Old Falls Street on New Year’s Eve to ring in 2014.
In terms of the supporters, Walker said the funding would have come out of the city’s tourism fund, which comes from bed tax revenues. The city-sponsored event, he said, would involve the Hard Rock Cafe because it has the know-how to hire performers and to promote the event.
Dyster also said he believes the city has had a positive association with the Hard Rock Cafe and he does not want to lose that relationship.
The area will not be devoid of entertainment this summer, the mayor said, as Global Spectrum, which is under contract to run activities on Old Falls Street, is planning two concerts this summer. There also will be the Niagara Falls Music & Art Festival in June and the Niagara Falls Blues Festival in September.