Niagara Falls City Council candidate Vincent M. Sandonato, who is backed by the Republican, Conservative, Independence, Working Families and Green parties in November's election, issued the following statement Friday regarding the continued failure of the City Council to approve the Hamister Group hotel project:
"It is time to stop talking and start doing. The Hamister Group's proposed downtown hotel is the kind of economic progress Niagara Falls is desperate for. The City Council has a proper oversight and review role, but this project has now become needlessly delayed - and so has the job creation that will come with it.
"The council was prudent to ask questions. They were wise to seek answers. To me, though, those answers have been sufficient and satisfactory. We should be scheduling a groundbreaking and celebrating seeing our neighbors, our uncles, our sisters going back to work to build the Hamister Group's hotel, and to expand our city's hospitality offerings.
"Niagara Falls is poised on the edge of one of nature's wonders. People come here from around the world. Yet we have no world-class hospitality to offer them - for that they must go to Canada. It's time that Niagara Falls realizes its potential, and the Hamister deal is a necessary step towards that end.
"I strongly urge the council to get back to work themselves. Approve this deal at your next meeting. Welcome progress, welcome jobs, welcome something that makes our world-recognized city a world-class city. Further, though, I urge the council to redirect its focus to economic development, rather than petty quarrels. Our city needs a government that fights for it, instead of fighting each other.
"To that end, it's no secret I'm a candidate for the City Council. I have long supported the Hamister Group and this hotel project. I support anything that, on balance, improves our community, creates jobs, and brings hope back to this city. If the City Council continues to obstruct those things, let me be clear: If elected, I will be the third vote to approve the Hamister deal, and any other economic development project that benefits our community, no matter where the idea originates. Factionalism, infighting, and cheap political posturing have gotten us where we are today, and I think a lot of people in this community hunger for something different - something better.
"I intend to repeat this message to our City Council directly at their next meeting, Monday, Sept. 16, at 6 p.m. at City Hall. I ask fellow concerned citizens here in the Cataract City to join me there and make our voices heard for progress, for jobs, and for a stronger Niagara Falls."