Ceretto: Aquarium funding possible due to footprint expansionby jmaloni
One year after push to increase USAN Economic Zone, Aquarium of Niagara wins support
Assemblyman John D. Ceretto congratulated the Aquarium of Niagara and the USA Niagara Development Corp. Wednesday after the USA Niagara board of directors authorized funding for a complete facility assessment of the Aquarium of Niagara. The board also approved funding for a downtown hotel renovation and an agreement to rehabilitate unused portions of the old Rainbow Mall.
"Since taking office, I have been pushing for an expansion of this economic development footprint in downtown Niagara Falls," Ceretto said. "I sponsored legislation last year with Senator (Mark) Grisanti to expand the footprint, and asked the Empire State Development Corporation's legal counsel to explore whether or not the USAN board could expand its economic development initiatives without state legislation. Our efforts got the ball rolling."
After the July 2011 board meeting, Ceretto and Grisanti co-signed a letter to Leecia Eve, then-legal counsel for Empire State Development Corp., asking for clarification. The ESDC found USAN could expand its own footprint. In August 2011, the boundary was expanded north of Main Street to include the Aquarium of Niagara.
"This facility assessment is an important first step toward any renovation or expansion efforts at the aquarium," Ceretto said. "I look forward to seeing its progress over the coming months and years."