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Niagara Falls City Market image provided by USA Niagara Development Corp.
Niagara Falls City Market image provided by USA Niagara Development Corp.

RRP survey seeks input on improvements at Niagara Falls City Market


Tue, Mar 5th 2024 09:25 am

Part of a $19 million joint effort ‘to make iconic public market more financially sustainable, tourism-friendly and a better source for locally grown healthy food options’

√ Survey for those interested in future market plans can be found here; see photos of market here

USA Niagara Development Corp. Press Release

The Regional Revitalization Partnership (RRP) – a partnership between Empire State Development, local governments, and a host of Western New York foundations – recently launched its effort to breathe new life into Niagara Falls’ treasured City Market.

Phase one of the effort will focus on business planning and a concept design for physical renovations, and will seek public input to help guide planning and design of the market and the amenities residents and visitors would like to see included. Future work will implement the plans with funding that has already been identified.

To ensure investments best serve the community while providing for the long-term sustainability of the market, the RRP partners have retained a consulting team of national experts in public markets, urban design, and placemaking. The consultants are currently immersing themselves into the history of the City Market and gathering information from residents, neighboring businesses, and the market’s farm vendors.

Public input on the project will be taken into consideration as the market is redeveloped. Residents of Niagara Falls and surrounding communities are encouraged to visit the City Market website to learn more about the effort and give their thoughts through an online survey. The survey asks questions about the residents’ experiences at the market or the reasons they have not shopped there, what they like and dislike about the market, and their ideas for improvements. The planning team would like to reach people from across Western New York, whether they regularly visit the City Market or not.

“The benefits of successful public markets are numerous. They connect urban and rural economies, increase access to affordable and healthy food, and offer low-risk business opportunities for vendors and farmers,” said Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight. “Public participation in a survey will help inform the decisions needed to be made to create the best possible public gathering space, highlight local culture, showcase produce and other products, and welcome people from all walks of life.”

The City Market was selected for funding because of its potential to draw tourists from the waterfront, create employment and business opportunities, and increase residents’ access to fresh, healthy foods grown in the region.

The investment is part of a broader regional economic development strategy, announced by Gov. Kathy Hochul in April 2022. All told, the RRP will invest $300 million in private and public funds in Niagara Falls, Buffalo’s east side, and Rochester. A combined $40 million effort in Niagara Falls supplements initial funding growing out of the ESD/city 2021 planning efforts, including a $19 million program focused on food entrepreneurship anchored around the City Market area along Pine Avenue.

City of Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino said, “The City Market has a long tradition of providing produce and other food items to locals for generations. Making improvements to the City Market and making it the best it can be will ensure the City Market’s longevity, so it can provide healthy affordable produce to our residents.”

Ted Spitzer, president of Market Ventures Inc., the lead consultant, said, “City Market has dedicated farmers, a new nonprofit manager that recently introduced a DoubleUp Food Bucks program, and a large and centrally located site. City Market also faces challenges, including aging facilities, a lack of amenities, and too few vendors. These will all be addressed in the proposed improvement program. Thankfully, there are funds in place to pay for improvements.”

Empire State Development is New York’s chief economic development agency. For more information on Regional Councils and ESD, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov and www.esd.ny.gov.

The RRP is a $300 million comprehensive economic development strategy and public-private partnership that maximizes impact and leverages additional investment. This community-driven, collaborative strategy takes a holistic, inclusive approach to economic development and is designed to build community wealth through multiple paths. The RRP was developed in collaboration with Hochul and ESD. It is supported by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, the Farash Foundation, ESL, KeyBank/First Niagara Foundation, M&T Bank, the Center for Regional Strategies, and partners in the cities of Buffalo, Niagara Falls and Rochester.

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