Tonawanda News

Local News

April 10, 2013

State officials confident Maid of the Mist project will survive court scrutiny

(Continued)

Tonawanda News — The new terms also included a boost in the payment that the company gives to the state. The Maid will pay New York state $105 million over the remaining 30 years of the contract - over three times the amount outlined in the 2002 agreement.

A contractor working on behalf of the Maid under a partnership with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation started clearing brush at the top of the gorge last week and was preparing to begin clearing stone off the gorge wall to ensure the safety of workers and, in the future, tourists, Gallivan said.

Gallivan said the state’s vision for the land does protect the history of the Schoelkopf site, pointing to the state’s efforts to have the property listed on the national registry of historic places.

“Governor Cuomo and New York state agree that this is a significant historical site,” Galllivan said. “That’s why the state supported its addition to the national registry.”

Louis Ricciuti, the director of the Niagara Preservation Coalition, said the New York Power Authority, which owns the land, declared the that there were no environmental concerns on the site to please Cuomo and Glynn, whom he described as “politically connected.”

The power plant and other industries located along the gorge used many toxic chemicals and metals and operated long before governmental regulations and protections for the environment were put in place, Ricciuti said.

“There are a substantial amount of environmental issues that have not been addressed,” Ricciuti said.

And, Ricciuti said, his coalition does not believe the state is following through on its claims that it wishes to celebrate the history of the site by building storage facilities for the Maid. In its legal filings, the coalition has charged that various state entities, including the New York Power Authority, have not done the necessary due diligence in advance of the construction project. 

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