From the Niagara Falls Reporter:
With key members of his staff under indictment, a potential $3.5 billion budget deficit looming, various ill-considered initiatives like free college tuition and selling liquor in movie theaters going over like lead balloons, and being increasingly at odds with a state legislature scratching and clawing to maintain its own prerogatives in a declining and corrupt state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo brought his road show to Niagara Falls this week, cutting the ribbon at a hotel opening.
Cuomo was in town to promote was what he calls his “Buffalo Billion Squared” which, being a $500 million reprise of a previous state aid program for Buffalo, might more aptly be called “Buffalo Billion Halved.”
The only thing the Buffalo Billion has paid for here in Niagara Falls, through a $10 million relative pittance, is the rebuilding of the south Robert Moses Parkway, which sprawls along and cuts off access to Niagara River waterfront.
From WGRZ Channel 2 in Buffalo:
For the first time in a very long time, there are signs of life in downtown Niagara Falls.
On Rainbow Boulevard, construction crews have been working around the clock to build Mark Hamister’s $35 million Hyatt Place hotel, set to open later this year. The world-famous Rainforest Café opened on Old Falls Street in 2015, and a few years before that, the downtown corridor welcomed the launch of the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute. The Robert Moses Parkway, with its prime riverfront location, will be more accessible due to a reconfiguration project funded through the state’s Buffalo Billion investment program.
In his State of the State speech last week at the University at Buffalo, Gov. Cuomo credited the state’s Buffalo Billion investment for creating $200 million in additional private-sector investment.
Then, as he unveiled the second phase of the Buffalo Billion, the governor announced a proposal for even more state investment.
“We’ll acquire underutilized property in downtown Niagara Falls,” Cuomo said. “So we can free up that land that has been locked up for too long and actually have productive commercial activity developed on it that capitalizes on the growth.”
From WKBW Channel 7 in Buffalo (includes video):
Governor Andrew Cuomo is now proposing a second phase of the Buffalo Billion initiative. A key focus is increasing tourism in places like Niagara Falls.
The governor would like to construct a new state-operated tourism visitor center on Grand Island, reclaim 135,000 acres of the Niagara Gorge corridor to be restored for more green space activities, and turn Goat Island into a year-round destination complete with a world-class lodge.