Gov. George E. Pataki leaves office having fallen far short on his vow to turn downtown Niagara Falls into a success on the level he had with Times Square. But the governor's staff recently provided The Buffalo News with information on the financial support the Pataki administration has provided to a city that has bled population and longs for a resurgence.
State support of Falls projects totals about $95 million during the past five years, Pataki officials said, plus an additional $10 million in casino revenues to support USA Niagara Development projects.
The numbers include:
*$44 million in improvements to Niagara Falls State Park.
*$18.8 million for the Conference Center Niagara Falls, which has hosted about 300 events this year.
*$10 million for the proposed Niagara Experience Center.
*$6 million to support the recently opened Crowne Plaza, a $23 million hotel renovation project.
*$5 million in construction funding for the Robert Moses Parkway South project.
*$3.3 million for the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center, and DeVeaux Woods and Whirlpool state parks.
*$3.2 million for the reconfiguration and streetscape program on Rainbow Boulevard North and South, including $500,000 to incorporate elements consistent with the joint USA Niagara/City of Niagara Falls $3.5 million Third Street reconstruction project.
*$3.1 million to support a new Old Falls Street streetscape.
*$2.7 million for a new fleet of natural gas powered trolley vehicles in downtown Niagara Falls.
*$1 million in pedestrian access improvements on all state-owned routes downtown.
*$500,000 for the restoration of the former Niagara Falls High School into the Niagara Falls Arts and Cultural Center.
*$400,000 in interest-free financing for the Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center Heart Center and emergency department.
*$100,000 to help in the successful fight to save Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station from being closed as part of the 2005 base realignment process.