Assemblyman John Ceretto, R-C-I-Lewiston, met this week with two officials from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to discuss issues of importance to his district in Western New York. Ceretto, Deputy Commissioner for Real Property and Legislative Affairs Carol Clark and Associate Attorney Petra Larsen discussed the redesign of the Robert Moses Parkway, the need for the State Parks to take a more active role in grass cutting in certain areas, and the use of Schoellkopf Hall in the DeVeaux Woods State Park.
"I was happy to meet with officials from the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to discuss ways that communities in Niagara Falls and the surrounding area can be improved. At the top of the list, of course, was moving forward with the Robert Moses Parkway redesign," Ceretto said. "We need to get moving on this and other important projects that will upgrade our area. I will continue to work with whoever I need to in order to make this a reality."
"Ideally, the redesign of the Robert Moses Parkway will bring traffic directly into downtown Niagara Falls in order to boost the struggling businesses in that area," Ceretto said. "I have already put my support behind a plan that would accomplish this. However, the imperative has to be on agreeing to a plan and moving this project ahead."
Ceretto has long been pushing for the state to get moving on the redesign of the Robert Moses Parkway. This project, he said, is essential to developing the waterfront and tapping into its economic potential. Ceretto, who wrote to Gov. Cuomo to ask for funding to get the project going, wants to see officials agree to a plan, get the funding, break ground, and do it as quickly as possible.
Ceretto said the project is too important to the economic development of the fiscally distressed City of Niagara Falls to put off for much longer.
Also on the agenda were several issues of local importance. Ceretto pushed for State Parks to play an increased role in grass cutting on Grand Island and throughout the area. The uncut grass has, in some areas, grown to more than four feet tall. This, Ceretto said, is unsafe for the local residents and leaves an unfavorable impression on people passing through, which is especially bad for an area whose economy is dependent on tourism.
In addition, possible uses for the currently unused Schoellkopf Hall in the DeVeaux Woods State Park were discussed. Schoellkopf Hall, a historic building that was originally built as a dormitory in 1930, has been out of use since 2001. Legislative approval is needed to authorize State Parks to enter into an agreement with another organization to use the building.
"Schoellkopf Hall could be used to bring jobs and revenue to the area," Ceretto said. "Several businesses have expressed interest in using the building, such as a high-tech manufacturing company. It is important to use all of our historic resources to grow our economy. The bottom line is we need to use this building to bring jobs to the good, hard-working residents of the area."