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Lockport to publish new visitors guides

The city is making a push to upgrade its tourism promotion efforts.

The Greater Lockport Development Corp., the city's economic development agency, voted Thursday to spend $15,000 as a one-time donation toward publishing 30,000 copies of a new visitors guide.

"The last guide we had in Lockport that was visitor-specific was in 2005. Some of the businesses in that brochure aren't here anymore," said Heather J. Peck, program manager for Lockport Main Street. "I've been wanting to do this for three years but haven't had the resources."

R. Charles Bell, director of planning and development, said the new guide will be combined with a stand-alone tourism website for Lockport. At present, there's a tourism tab on the website shared by the city and town, which is devoted primarily to governmental matters.

Both projects will total about $30,000, but Bell said he believes that the development corporation's $15,000 can be leveraged to obtain grants for the remainder.

"I'm even willing to put someone on staff to oversee this," Mayor Michael W. Tucker said.

He said the position could be funded through a share of the city's hotel and motel "bed tax," most of which is sent to the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp., the countywide tourism promotion agency.

He said he wasn't sure if the job would be full time or part time, and said he wouldn't ask the Common Council to approve it for a few months.

Tucker said the Lockport move does not reflect any dissatisfaction with the Niagara Falls-based NTCC.

"The NTCC worries about everybody, which is good, but we need something focused on this community," Tucker said. "We have a lot going on here. We have 200,000 people a year coming in for the [Friday night summer] concerts. Nobody knows what's going on. Eight years ago, it didn't matter. Today, it matters."

Tucker recently appointed a tourism task force comprising Bell, Peck, Alderwoman Anne E. McCaffrey, Town of Lockport Economic Development Director David R. Kinyon and Erie Canal Discovery Center Director Douglas Farley.

Bell said the model Lockport will use is the annual Newfane-Olcott visitors guide, which has begun to pay for itself with advertising revenue. He said Lockport, as a larger community, has the potential to bring in more revenue than the $12,000 Newfane collects.

In other action Thursday, the development corporation sold two small slices of land on the Canal Street block to Zimmie's Tire, Church and Niagara streets, for a total of $2,400.

The price was equal to the assessed valuation of the two parcels: an 11-by-34-foot piece of property along the curb on the Church Street side and a 22-by-35-foot slice of the Canal Street parking lot, behind a 19th century horse barn on Church Street.