Tonawanda News — Work to convert the former Schoellkopf Power Station site into a boat storage facility for a local boat tour company will continue despite legal action from a preservation group.
The New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division released a written decision dated June 18 denying the Niagara Preservation Coalition’s motion for a preliminary injunction seeking to stop work at the site.
Brian D. Gwitt, an attorney representing Maid of the Mist, called it proof that his client and their partners have been following state law while constructing the boat docks.
“We feel validated,” Gwitt said. “We have always been in the right. This project wasn’t put together haphazardly.”
Pete Gallivan, Western New York Communications Director for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, welcomed the decision as well. In December, Cuomo joined Maid of the Mist owner James Glynn in signing a memorandum of understanding that allowed the boat tour company to move forward with plans to build a new facility at the Schoellkopf site. The company has pledged to spend more than $30 million on the development of a docking and storage facility for its fleet as well as hiking trails and other tourist attractions.
“We were pleased to learn of the decision to dismiss for the second time a motion for a preliminary injunction,” Gallivan said in a statement issued by his office. “This will allow this critical project to continue moving forward as we also engage the community for guidance in interpreting and telling the story of this important site.”
Linda R. Shaw, the coalition’s attorney, said she knew asking for a preliminary injunction was a reach as courts do not often halt work while an appeal is ongoing. She said she thought inconsistencies between documents filed with the state and federal governments related to the site, and the testimony of state experts, would be enough to convince the panel of judges that brought the decision.