Featured News - Current News - Archived News - News Categories

Higgins recognizes work of Niagara Falls National Heritage Area Executive Director Sara Capen


Fri, Dec 15th 2023 01:50 pm

Local leader’s effort ensured longevity for National Heritage Areas in WNY & across country

During the final week of session for 2023, Congressman Brian Higgins stood on the floor of the House of Representatives to recognize how one Western New Yorker’s effort will improve communities across the nation for the next 15 years.

Sara Capen serves as both the executive director for the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area as well as the chair of the Alliance of National Heritage Areas.

Higgins’ team said, “Several times in recent years, federal funding for the National Heritage Area Program was in jeopardy, threatening resources driving economic growth in the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area and the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor in Western New York, along with dozens of other communities across the country with the historic designation.

“Thanks to Sara’s leadership and determination, earlier this year the National Heritage Area Act was signed into law, guaranteeing continuation of and funding for National Heritage areas through Sept. 30, 2037.”

Higgins said, in part, “From the growth of the Discover Niagara Shuttle to the success of the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center, Sara has been the energy behind projects connecting people to stories, destinations, and to one another. At the national level, Sara was the driving force behind approval of the National Heritage Areas Act, which reauthorizes all heritage areas for the next 15 years, safeguarding and strengthening economic opportunities across the country. We thank Sara Capen for her passion and commitment to ensuring America’s history is woven into the future for future for generations to come.”

Niagara Falls received its designation as a National Heritage Area by Congress in 2008. Its mission is to preserve, protect and promote the historic, natural and cultural resources along a 13-mile corridor of the Niagara River.

A 2021 evaluation of the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area (NFNHA) issued by the U.S. Department of the Interior, which oversees the National Parks Service (NPS), recognized the NFNHA’s collaborative efforts and success, noting, “from 2009 to 2020, the investments made in the NFNHA totaled more than $11 million. During this period, the NFNHA received $3,054,833 in NPS Heritage Partnership Program funds. The NFNHA secured $8.2 million in matching funds, nearly three times the required 50 percent match.”

According to the National Parks Service, every federal dollar invested in National Heritage Areas generates $5.50 in local economic benefits.

Hometown News

View All News