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Dyster, Higgins cut ribbon on 70th Street Park

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Tue, Aug 8th 2017 04:45 pm
Federally funded project marks 26th parks renovation since 2011
On Tuesday, Niagara Falls Mayor Paul A. Dyster joined Congressman Brian Higgins, members of the Niagara Falls City Council and local officials to cut the ribbon on the 70th Street Park improvement project. Part of the 2015 Niagara Falls Community Development Action Plan and funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Community Development Block Grant Program, the roughly $150,000 project marks the city's 26th parks renovation project since 2011.
Dyster said, "Twenty-six neighborhood parks, six years and countless residents not only utilizing these state-of-the-art facilities, but publicly participating in their creation once again highlights the importance of community development block grants funds and the support of federal leaders like Congressman Higgins. The continuation of such funding is paramount to quality-of-life issues in our community, and I look forward to standing with the congressman and our federal leaders to advance these projects for years to come."
"Community Development Block Grants are federal investments that support community-building," Higgins said. "Investments in projects like this across Niagara Falls are bringing people together and enhancing the quality of life in neighborhoods across the city."
The project completion comes two months after ground was broken at the site, and includes a new, state-of-the-art playground, resurfaced basketball court and new seating areas for residents of all ages to enjoy. All aspects of the project were voted on by city residents through neighborhood meetings hosted as part of the public participation process.
"Through the collaboration of residents, community development and elected officials, I'm proud to celebrate the new playground at 70th Street Park," Councilman Andy Touma said. "The new playground for our children will promote interactive learning, fun, as well as motor development for years to come."
In addition to the 2015 action plan's public input process, neighborhood meetings were hosted on this specific project on May 18, 2016, and Oct. 28, 2014. These improvements are a direct result of suggestions from residents.
Based on the 2012 adopted Niagara Falls parks master plan, 26 significant public park improvements have been made throughout the city, including Legends Park, Gill Creek Playground, the renovated Hyde Park ice pavilion, the Griffon Park kayak launch and the Niagara Falls Skate Park.
In May, the City of Niagara Falls was once again named a Playful City USA Community by KaBoom!, a national nonprofit dedicated to giving all kids the childhood they deserve, filled with balanced and active play.
Tuesday's ribbon-cutting also coincides with the Niagara Falls Community Development Department's free outdoor screening of "Moana" at 70th Street Park. Festivities kick off at 7 p.m. with a bounce house, with the movie to start at dusk. The Niagara Falls Community Development team will also be on site for PB 360 voting.
PB 360 is the first instance of participatory budgeting put into action in Niagara Falls. Participatory budgeting is a democratic decision-making process of direct citizen engagement to manage public money. With funds from U.S. Housing and Urban Development's Community Development Block Grant), Niagara Falls has allocated $360,000 in the 2017 action plan for PB 360.
Public participation has and will decide how best to improve city parks. All voters must be residents of Niagara Falls. Each voter will get one ballot that allows him or her to choose three out of the 10 items listed below:
  • Liberty Park - replacement of outdated, damaged playground (estimated cost: $200,000)
  • Gluck Park - addition of security lighting (estimated cost: $75,000)
  • Gill Creek Park - construction of a basketball court on south end (estimated cost: $15,000)
  • Wright Park - planting of ornamental trees (estimated cost: $1,000)
  • Jerauld Park - construction of a walking path (estimated cost: $20,000)
  • Jerauld Park - construction of horseshoe pits (estimated cost: $1,000)
  • Hyde Park - construction of an additional shelter (estimated cost: $10,000)
  • Hyde Park - addition of benches along the walking path (estimated cost: $8,000)
  • Hyde Park - construction of a basketball court (estimated cost: $25,000)
  • Hyde Park - construction of a new playground "pod" (estimated cost: $75,000)

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