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Aquarium of Niagara project gets $97,000 more in funding

The Aquarium of Niagara is getting an additional $97,000 in funding.

The Niagara County Industrial Development Agency has approved an increase in its Cataract Tourism Fund grant to the aquarium from $273,000 to $370,000.

The lesser amount was approved last year for Shark and Ray Bay, a planned shallow pool at the Aquarium that will offer visitors the chance to touch stingrays and small, nonlethal bamboo sharks.

Since the earlier grant was approved, structural, electrical and plumbing issues have boosted the cost estimate from $1.36 million to $1.85 million. The enlarged grant covers 20% of the cost.

"It's a legitimate request, I thought," NCIDA board member William L. Ross said. "It's an old building – it opened in 1965 – and there were a lot of things that were wrong."

Grants from Empire State Development and the John R. Oishei Foundation also are part of the funding for the project. Shark and Ray Bay is targeted to open May 31.

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