City officials will meet next week with the operator of the city-owned West Pedestrian Mall to discuss the appearance and safety of extension cords and appliances used by vendors on the walkway outside Niagara Falls State Park.
Administrator William Bradberry said the city is working with Louis Antonacci, the operator, to resolve the issues.
Chief Electrical Inspector Peter Butry sent Antonacci a letter May 31 asking that the vendors' household appliances, indoor extension cords and nonweatherproof receptacles be removed from the pedestrian mall.
"We cannot afford to go into another season looking as tacky as we do right now," Bradberry said earlier this week at a Tourism Advisory Board meeting. "I'd rather shut the thing down and start all over again than to let it run the way it has been."
Antonacci's company leases the mall and vending rights for the walkway from the city for an annual fee of up to $15,000. Under the agreement, the company is responsible for opening and maintaining the walkway between April 15 and Sept. 30.
Antonacci was not available Wednesday to comment. Dominic Colucci, his cousin and business partner, said Antonacci has been working with the city on the issues.
"He doesn't know where that was coming from because he's been out there every day cleaning up," Colucci said Tuesday after learning of Bradberry's comments the previous evening at the advisory board meeting.
Wednesday, Bradberry spoke by telephone with Antonacci in an attempt to resolve complaints about the walkway from representatives of Comfort Inn The Pointe, which sits next to the pedestrian mall. Antonacci agreed to meet city and hotel representatives next week, Bradberry said.
Bradberry said resolving the problem may involve getting vendors who work with Antonacci to comply.
"My role is just to try to bring all the parties together," Bradberry said.
City Building Commissioner Guy Bax said that, at the city's request, Antonacci had added ground fault interrupters.
Tricia Mezhir, general manager for Comfort Inn The Pointe, said the city and the walkway operator have done a better job cleaning up garbage on the walkway than in previous years.
But she said she would like to see indoor refrigerators, microwaves and extension cords used by walkway vendors removed.
"We're supposed to be welcoming [visitors] to our city. It looks bad," Mezhir said. "We need to improve the appearance out there because we're going into a tourist season. We all need to work together to correct those areas that are not acceptable."