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Council hears about plans for events

Hoping to inject more vigor into the largely moribund Old Falls Street near Niagara Falls State Park, the operator of Conference Center Niagara Falls has unveiled an ambitious list of programs and activities for this year's tourist season.

John Faso, director of special events for the Conference Center, gave members of the City Council a list Monday that included activities for almost every day from Memorial Day, May 31, until well after Labor Day, Sept. 6.

Faso said sponsors still are being lined up for many of the activities. He said more than 200 events are expected to be held, compared with about 80 already in place.

Among the events would be festivals, concerts, roaming street performers, an art walk, children's zone, physical fitness programs, a book exchange, luncheon music series, dance performances, story-telling, movie nights and cooking instructions with guest chefs.

One-time events may include a "girls' night out," battle of the bands, a Halloween parade and block party, a Taste of Niagara, a 3-on-3 basketball tournament and a "touch a truck" program in which children could sit on fire trucks, police cars and other equipment.

Adding to the mix would be a Friday night concert series sponsored by the City of Niagara Falls and a Saturday concert series at the Hard Rock Cafe. Festivals could include an Oktoberfest, fall harvest festival, rib competition, international food and local wine festival and a blues festival.

The Conference Center also hopes to create a "kickoff" promotion around Memorial Day to reintroduce Old Falls Street.

In other business:

*In a highly emotional appeal, April Jones of Eighth Street told the Council that 75 registered sexual molesters live in her neighborhood, and "I am a mad taxpayer citizen."

"Why are we turning Niagara Falls into a dumping ground for pedophiles and sexual molesters?" she asked. "It is not safe nor comfortable any more. Children and women are not being protected."

Jones suggested that each of the five Council members move 15 of the offenders into their own neighborhoods, instead of concentrating them in hers. Her comments were applauded by the audience, but there was no item on the Council agenda for action.

*Deborah Andersen, owner of the family's Andersen Electric Supply Co. on the recently renamed Fashion Outlet Boulevard, protested the name change from Factory Outlet Boulevard. She said the change cost her company $4,000 to change its letterhead and other business papers, caused a downturn in business and resulted in some of her mail not being delivered.

*Public Works Director David Kinney appealed to residents to place their household trash in their back alleyways, where it will be picked up on collection days, instead of on the main streets in front of their houses, where it creates a mess. He said the problem was particularly acute along Pine Avenue and Main Street.

*City Controller Maria C. Brown told the Council that Moody's Rating Service had changed the city's rating from "Baa2" to "A2." She cautioned, however, that it was not an upgrading; it was just a change in the way Moody's calculates its U.S. municipal ratings.

e-mail: rbaldwin@buffnews.com

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