FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 4, 2012
SCHUMER CALLS ON NATIONAL PARK SERVICE TO QUICKLY APPROVE LOCAL NIAGARA FALLS HERITAGE COMMISSION-APPROVED COMPREHENSIVE REGIONAL PROMOTION PLAN; APPROVAL ALLOWS INCREASED FUNDING TO FLOW TO THE FALLS REGION
Schumer Announces That The Niagara Falls Heritage Commission Has Approved A Plan to Revitalize Niagara Falls Heritage Area – Schumer Is Urging National Parks to Swiftly Approve Plan & Allow Millions of Additional Dollars to Flow to Niagara Falls Heritage Area
In 2008, Schumer Authored Legislation To Create The Commission, Tasked With Creating A Management Plan For the Entire Niagara Falls Heritage Area — Today’s Announcement Opens a Door For Up to $10 Million in Federal Funding to Flow to Region, Up From Only $150,000
Schumer: Niagara Falls is a National Treasure that Deserves National Resources; This Locally-Generated Plan Can Make it Even More of a Magnet for Visitors and the Dollars and Jobs They Bring
Today, on the heels of the Niagara Falls Heritage Area Commission approving a comprehensive plan to revitalize and enhance tourism to the Niagara region, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that he is pushing the National Park Service (NPS) to swiftly review and approve this plan. Once approved, the Niagara region will be eligible for up to $10 million in federal funding to develop the history and heritage of the area, a significant increase from the approximately $150,000 per year for which the Niagara Falls Heritage Area is currently eligible.
Schumer noted that once fully approved, the funding would develop existing attractions, create new attractions, and draw new tourists and investments to the region. Schumer applauded the Commission for its well-developed plan that embraces the historical and cultural significance of the Niagara Region and develops goals to enhance the region’s reputation and the quality of life for residents. Schumer is urging the National Park Service to prioritize approval of the Commission’s plan and allow the Commissions important work to move forward.
“The National Park Service needs to promptly review and approve this comprehensive and locally-generated plan to boost tourism to the Niagara Falls region. The Commission’s approval of this well-developed plan is the result of years of hard work, and I’m urging the National Park Service to swiftly approve the proposal so that it can move forward and allow millions of additional dollars to flow to the Niagara Falls region,” said Schumer
“Just like the beautiful waterfalls for which Niagara is famous, the Niagara Falls region is flowing with history and culture that must be restored and harnessed for tourism, jobs and economic growth in the region,” continued Schumer. “The Niagara Falls Heritage Area Commission’s plan would do just that, by launching a coordinated effort to enhance the region’s nationally historic landmarks, parks and more, in a way that draws tourists and spurs economic revitalization in the Niagara region.”
The Niagara Falls Heritage Area Commission’s plan laid out a variety of concrete proposals that would help strengthen and rejuvenate the Niagara Region’s heritage and history and help improve tourism in the region. The plan would coordinate all stakeholders’ efforts in the region to achieve goals such as developing historical maps and brochures for visitors, establish uniform signage throughout the region and create a uniform visitor pass for admission to all historical sites in the region. In addition, the plan outlines the need to work with the City of Niagara Falls to develop its downtown and work with municipalities such as Lewiston and Youngtown to develop waterfront plans that highlight the communities’ historical and cultural significance. Finally, the Commission’s proposal would work to develop and complete a comprehensive hiking and biking trails throughout the river gorge.
“The Commission’s Management Plan is a comprehensive vision for how to further develop the historical and cultural significance of the Niagara Region. The plan was developed and will be implemented through collaboration with all of our community partners in Niagara Falls, Lewiston and Youngstown” said Tom Chambers, Chairman of the Heritage Area Commission. “This plan will help to develop a strong heritage tourism economy from ‘Falls to Fort.’ I am hopeful that the National Parks Service will approve our plan and allow us to move forward with this important effort. I want to thank Senator Schumer for the role he has played in helping us get to this important stage, and for his support in helping us continue to advance.”
National Heritage Areas (NHAs) are designated by Congress as places where natural, cultural, and historic resources combine to form a cohesive, nationally important landscape. Schumer stated that through federal resources, NHAs tell nationally important stories that celebrate our nation's diverse heritage. NHAs are lived-in landscapes. Consequently, NHA entities collaborate with communities to determine how to make heritage relevant to local interests and needs. NHAs are a grassroots, community-driven approach to heritage conservation and economic development. Through public-private partnerships, NHA entities support historic preservation, natural resource conservation, recreation, heritage tourism, and educational projects. Leveraging funds and long-term support for projects, NHA partnerships foster pride of place and an enduring stewardship ethic. The Niagara Falls Heritage Area Commission was designated as an NHA in 2008 thanks to Schumer’s efforts. Today’s announcement that the Commission has developed a plan for how to establish such a heritage area is an important step in this process, and Schumer is now urging the National Park Service to approve this plan, which will allow federal funding through the NHA program to flow to the Niagara Region.
Schumer also highlighted a number of the Niagara Falls Heritage Area Commission’s larger goals, and urged the National Park Service to swiftly approve the Commission’s well-developed plan. The plan would work to ensure that all levels of government, communities and organizations that are essential to the Niagara Falls region work on in a coordinated effort to promote a successful heritage tourism industry. Also, the plan would create a high-quality educational program to nurture public appreciation for the diverse communities, cultures and environments in the Niagara region and offer authentic regional heritage opportunities to visitors.
The Commission’s plan would also aim to establish an enhanced visitor experience for tourists and local residents of all ages that visit the region, in ways like identifying outdoor activities and programs, recreational and eco-tourism opportunities and facilities. By making the Niagara Falls region a more-well known and established tourist spot, this plan would also foster economic revitalization in Niagara Falls. The Commission’s plan would help engage young adults, teenagers and children in the area’s history, and motivate them to develop knowledge and understanding of the communities stories, all while establishing a larger sense of community and recognition of the significant resources in Niagara Falls.
A copy of Schumer’s letter to National Park Service Director Jarvis appears below:
June 4, 2012
Dear Director Jarvis,
I write to urge the National Park Service to quickly approve the Niagara Falls Heritage Area Commission’s plan to revitalize the Niagara River region. Approval of this well-thought out plan would make the region eligible to receive up to $10 million in funding, allowing large-scale investment that will further develop existing attractions, along with creating new tourism destinations. The Commission has sought input from the community and developed a comprehensive plan; I now urge National Parks to quickly approve this plan and allow the project to advance.
The plan put forward by the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area deftly embraces the Niagara Falls region’s historical character while at the same time encouraging investment and tourism. Most importantly, it recognizes the importance of coordinating efforts for the whole region; proposals such as uniform signage and universal visitor passes to historic sites will make visiting the Niagara Falls region even easier and more appealing. This collaboration, between the different municipalities and stakeholders, is vital to further development throughout the entire region.
This plan will increase the quality of life for residents, enhance the economic opportunities available to businesses, and make the whole Niagara Falls region an even more attractive destination for tourists from around the United States and the whole world. Simply put, it’s a no-brainer to approve this plan. Again, I urge the National Park Service to swiftly approve this plan. The Niagara Falls Heritage Commission has put countless hours into this proposal and I believe it is the best way forward for the region.
Charles E. Schumer