Assemblyman John Ceretto sent a letter Thursday to Gov. Andrew Cuomo requesting his assistance in helping to make Nik Wallenda's tightrope walk across the Niagara Falls gorge a free event for all New York residents.
"I believe that making this event free of charge for New York residents will help to turn it into an even bigger success for both our Niagara Falls region and the state," Ceretto said. "A free event will attract more people and will allow them to spend more money in our local shops and restaurants and will ensure that everyone, regardless of income, has the ability to see this once-in-a-lifetime event."
In his letter to the governor, Ceretto noted that tourism is a major industry in upstate New York, bringing in billions of dollars every year to the local economy and generating numerous good-paying jobs. The importance of tourism to the Empire State's economic development has been the driving force behind the assemblyman's efforts to strengthen this vital industry.
"If done right, the Wallenda event can be just what Western New York needs to help rebuild the American side of Niagara Falls and make it an indispensable tourism destination," Ceretto said. "That's why I am requesting the governor's help to make this event free to the public. A free event, in conjunction with the publicity the tightrope walk will generate, will help to place Niagara Falls and our state in a better position to attract future top-flight entertainment."
Ceretto also added that by making the event free, officials would stay true to the park's pioneers of the late 19th century who founded the "Free Niagara" movement.
"Just as the early conservation efforts ensured public access to the majesty of the falls, we must now work to make certain that all New Yorkers are welcome to this event," Ceretto said.