A preview day was held Thursday in Niagara Falls to give the public a taste of the Old Falls Street grand opening festival taking place Saturday, May 22.
Part of the preview was the announcement of the 2010 calendar of events for the restored Old Falls Street and a ribbon cutting for 12 new boutique hotel rooms at the Red Coach Inn on Buffalo Avenue.
Saturday's grand opening of Old Falls Street starts with the second annual Run with the Rapids 5K Run/Walk, followed by a post race party from 10 a.m. to noon. Then, from noon to 8 p.m. the street will see live music, dance performances, food concessions, a meet and greet with the Buffalo Jills, cooking demonstrations, animal exhibits, street performers, checkers, chess and bocce, as well as a Kids Zone that will include a balloon artist, face painters, Bounce House and a performance by the Wonder Makers, a comedy improv team.
Thursday's dedication of the street by USA Niagara Development Corporation and the City of Niagara Falls celebrated its reopening to vehicular and pedestrian traffic for the first time in more than 30 years. The redevelopment of this street spanned a total of three years with a total cost of $12 million.
"We are meeting the demands of the tourism and convention market in Niagara Falls with renovated, high-quality hotel rooms matched with daily and weekly events to engage our residents and the 5 to 6 million visitors we get each year. Today is a very proud day, as it demonstrates to everyone that your city, state and business community are working hard together to meet the demands of not only visitors, but more importantly the residents," said USAN Chairman Dennis M. Mullen.
"Falls Street is fondly remembered and even treasured in the history of the City of Niagara Falls. From the first moment that it was 'gone' from our downtown we realized how much it meant to the life of our city and the tourism industry. Through the rebuilding and reopening of Old Falls Street we now have our 'Falls Street' back," said Mayor Paul Dyster.
The Old Falls Street Initiative has restored full access along the former Falls Street corridor from the 1885 entrance of Niagara Falls State Park through the core of downtown.
The new Red Coach Inn rooms are located in the former office building adjoining the inn. The rooms were renovated to emulate the same historic English Tudor-style for which the inn is known.
This $900,000 expansion project allowed the Red Coach to grow its current hotel capacity from 19 to more than 30 luxury suites and guests rooms, and also included the construction of a guest reception area, laundry area, new HVAC, electrical, plumbing, furniture and façade enhancement.
The Red Coach Inn dates back to 1923. Tom Reese purchased the business in 1986.
"This project is a major expansion for the Red Coach Inn and I'm confident that the marketplace will support my investment and that these new rooms will help meet the rising demand," Reese said. "It's exciting to be a part of everything new that is happening in the downtown area and I hope this project encourages further development for our tourists and local residents. Without the assistance from USA Niagara and the City of Niagara Falls, this project would not have been possible."
The 2010 calendar of events for Old Falls Street and a complete list of festivities for Saturday's grand opening can be found at www.FallsStreet.com.