Board also approves annual budget, takes administrative actions
The USA Niagara Development Corp. board of directors met Thursday and approved the general project plan and a construction services contract for the Cataract Commons Civic Project, a proposed public open space facility or “commons” space located on Old Falls Street in downtown Niagara Falls.
The project will transform an empty parcel into a more usable and inviting outdoor facility that will have permanent structural seating and shade, as well as flexibility for hosting various events. The scope of work includes earthwork, the installation of metal shade structures, planters, fabricated wood and metal marquee signage, concrete flatwork, a concrete amphitheater, landscaping and lighting.
“The parcel of land that will become ‘Cataract Commons’ is an important urban space that helps shape the visitor experience in downtown Niagara Falls,” USAN Board of Directors Chairwoman Francine DelMonte said. “As such, our investment in more permanent capital improvements is necessary for this focal point on Old Falls Street.”
This project, located at the southeast corner of Rainbow Boulevard and Old Falls Street, is approximately 10,000 square feet and is in the former footprint of the Wintergarden. Although relatively small and currently largely unimproved, it has provided a place for tourists to stop and take a break with their families.
The project is expected to be complete in May 2020.
The USAN board awarded a $1,067,469 construction contract for Cataract Commons to Scott Lawn Yard, a certified Women-Owned Business Enterprise/Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (WBE/DBE). Scott Lawn Yard’s past projects have included rehabilitation work at the Niagara Falls Water Treatment Plant; converting a section of the former Robert Moses Parkway to pedestrian pathways; and a regionwide landscaping project for the state Department of Transportation.
USAN had previously contracted with Trowbridge Wolf Michaels Landscape Architects LLP to develop final design and bid documents.
Funding for the Cataract Commons project comes from the Buffalo Billion II.
In other items, the USAN directors took a number of administrative actions. The board approved USAN’s annual operating budget and annual capital expense authorization for fiscal year 2019-20. The board also approved the operating and capital budgets for the Conference & Events Center Niagara Falls and Old Falls Street for calendar year 2019.
The directors authorized entering into an amendment to a funding agreement with the New York Power Authority related to the Niagara Gorge Corridor – Parkway Removal Project. The amendment allows for NYPA to provide an additional $530,000 to fund consultant costs related to design support and monitoring during the construction phase of the ongoing project to remove a two-mile segment of the former Robert Moses Parkway, now known as the Niagara Scenic Parkway, from Main Street to Findlay Drive.
USAN, a subsidiary of Empire State Development, is solely dedicated to the support and promotion of economic development initiatives in downtown Niagara Falls by leveraging private investment and encouraging growth and renewal of the tourism industry in the City of Niagara Falls. For more information, visit https://esd.ny.gov/usa-niagara-development-corporation-6.