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PLAN FOR BIG CONE FACES ROCKY ROAD IN DOWNTOWN FALLS

The man who wants to put a giant ice cream cone in downtown Niagara Falls says he's not giving up.

William Glasgow of Grand Island has launched a postcard campaign asking local business owners and residents to lend support to the ice cream stand, which is currently awaiting action by the city Planning Board. Glasgow has been lobbying City Council members and mailed about 200 brochures promoting his "Twist of the Mist" ice cream stand.

He said the brochures went primarily to downtown businesses and others in the area around the vacant corner of Rainbow Boulevard and Niagara Street at the U.S. end of the Rainbow Bridge, where he wants to put the stand. So far, he has received about 50 responses, mostly favorable, he said.

Councilman Ralph F. Aversa has entered the debate, speaking to board members and city Planning and Economic Development Director Samuel M. Ferraro. Aversa said he plans to ask board members to hold a special meeting.

The board tabled the issue two weeks ago, asking Glasgow to get comments from the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission, which is planning a $30 million renovation of the bridge plaza, just yards away. It also asked Glasgow to get comments from the Buffalo Friends of Olmsted Parks, a preservationist group fighting development in the area surrounding the falls.

Lucy A. Cook, executive director of the Friends of Olmsted, said her organization is opposed to the ice cream stand.

The Planning Board also asked Glasgow to get together with Ferraro to explore other locations. Ferraro recommended against approval, saying the cone was "offensive in this location" and would detract from the reservation, which is the oldest state park, and from the downtown area.

Ferraro said he would work with Glasgow to find another location, but "to use a prime commercial site for an activity such as this would be contrary to what we recommend for the downtown."

Aversa said the city shouldn't be telling developers "to move two blocks up."

"Our role is to be business friendly and helpful," Aversa said. "The Planning Board's job is to keep an open mind, look at each proposed development and make a decision based on the merit of that development."

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