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FROM LOVE CANAL THROUGH BROKEN PROMISES, FRAUD INVESTIGATIONS AND MASTER PLANS, A NIAGARA FALLS TIMELINE

1953

Hooker Chemical Co. puts a clay cap on Love Canal, which it had been using as a dump for toxic chemicals, and sells it to the Niagara Falls Board of Education for $1.

June 8, 1956

The Schoellkopf Power Plant collapses into the Niagara River, taking with it the area's cheap power and thousands of jobs.

1959

The 99th Street Elementary School is built on the Love Canal site, along with houses, streets and sewer and water lines.

November 1961

The first sections of the Robert Moses Parkway open, virtually cutting the city off from the Niagara Reservation State Park.

1963

E. Dent Lackey, an ordained Methodist minister, is elected mayor and takes on the job of revitalizing the City of Niagara Falls.

1965

A master plan for the city is unveiled, showing a convention center, shopping mall, hotels, parking ramps, amusements, shops and other attractions.

1968

Demolition begins for Lackey's urban renewal project.

Jan. 12, 1974

Opening day, touted as "Super Saturday," at the $30 million Niagara Falls Convention & Civic Center.

1977

The Wintergarden, an indoor arboretum, opens along a pedestrian mall across from the convention center.

August 2, 1978

The state Health Department declares a state of emergency at Love Canal.

1978

The Turtle, a Native American Museum, opens across the street from the Niagara Reservation State Park.

1982

Niagara Venture, led by Lewiston attorney John Bartolomei, wins city approval to become its master developer. It offers plans for a hotel, the Falls Street Faire indoor shopping arcade, the Falls Street Station an indoor amusement park and the Niagara Splash water park.

1986

The Ghermazian brothers, Canadian developers, excite Niagara Falls with visions of a $1 billion mall, then decide to builld elsewhere.

1986

Niagara Venture's hotel, the Inn at the Falls, opens next to the Wintergarden.

1988

Niagara Splash opens.

1989

Benderson Development offers plan for a massive factory outlet mall on a 111-acre parcel downtown.

1991

Falls Street Faire and Falls Street Station open.

1991

Jacob A. Palillo is elected mayor of Niagara Falls, running on a "no mall" platform. The Benderson project is killed.

1992

All Niagara Venture entertainment sites are closed or bankrupt, and a federal investigation begins into the business practices at Niagara Venture. City begins foreclosure proceedings, which last six years.

1993

Bartolomei partner Edward Bevilacqua pleads guilty to tax fraud.

1994

Instead of downtown mega-mall, Benderson begins expanding its Town of Niagara outlet mall.

June 18, 1997

Mayor James C. Galie gives a Canadian-American consortium, Niagara Falls Redevelopment, an exclusive option to develop 200 downtown acres in exchange for $140 million in investment over eight years.

March 18, 1998

Toronto developer Edwin A. Cogan, head of Niagara Falls Redevelopment, unveils a master plan that includes a mix of parkland, shops, restored buildings and an entertainment district, including new hotels and a casino.

June 1998

A proposed statewide referendum on casino gambling dies in the State Senate.

July 1998

Galie implores the State Senate to revive the casino bill, saying the city is "on its last legs."

August 1998

Cogan sells half of Niagara Falls Redevelopment to billionaire real estate investor Howard P. Milstein.

June 1999

Cogan is forced into bankruptcy court by creditors, but says it will not affect NFR.

November 1999

Irene J. Elia is elected mayor of Niagara Falls and tells Niagara Falls Redevelopment to "put a shovel in the ground by July 1 or face city action."

June 30, 2000

First shovel in the ground for a Niagara Falls Redevelopment project, an "entertainment and cultural center" at the former Turtle museum.

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