Culturals Under Attack in Niagara Falls

The Oishei Foundation recently announced a dollar-for-dollar challenge grant to the Niagara Falls City Council to help restore funding to the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center (NACC). The City Council Majority has recently eliminated $30,000 in City funding to the NACC and has verbally turned down the Oishei Foundation’s offer of $15,000 if the City reinstated $15,000 in funding.

Designed by William Ittner and built in 1924, the classic revival building at Pine Avenue and Portage Road served as Niagara Falls’ central high school until 2000, when it was replaced by a new high school building.  Slated for demolition, the NACC was rescued by a grassroots community coalition, Save Our Sites in Niagara Falls, Inc.  Today the 166,000 sq. foot building is filled with more than 75 artists and is on both the Federal and NY State Registries of Historic Buildings.  The mission of the NACC is to promote arts and cultural experiences in western Niagara County.  

“I have submitted a formal agenda item, proposing acceptance of this challenge grant, for the Council’s consideration at its March 4, 2013 Council Meeting,” says Mayor Paul Dyster.  “The City Council needs to go on record with this decision, whether they reverse their choice or not.”

“The John R. Oishei Foundation has donated $10 million to Niagara Falls organizations since 2006,” says Dyster.  “These private dollars support services that Niagara Falls residents use everyday. If you have relied on places like Complete Senior Care, Inc., Niagara University, Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, Family and Children’s Services of Niagara, Inc., and many others, you have seen the Oishei Foundation’s investment at work. This foundation is more than just a city partner; it provides life blood to this community.”

The Oishei grant offer was a direct response to the Niagara Falls City Council’s elimination of the NACC’s $30,000 allocation even after it was passed in the 2013 Annual Budget.  Concerned citizens have flooded the last two council meetings speaking in support of the NACC and against the elimination of budgeted funding.

“This issue is about more than just emergency fundraising for one organization,” says Dyster.  “This is about the City Council disregarding its own approved budget and consciously turning down private funds. The NACC is being forced to adjust to an unscheduled gap in its 2013 budget and closure is needed on this issue.”

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4 comments
armyof100clowns
armyof100clowns

paulsobo - despite your romancing of the caps lock key like you were warehousedweller, I have to agree with many of the points you made in your post. The stranglehold Albany has in the region is not commiserating with the benefits we receive from their leadership. If this were a marriage, I don’t even think counseling could heal the relationship.

I have oft fumed at the very notion of the Power “Authority”, which only serves the interests of those downstate or in the hallowed halls of injustice in Albany. There is no reason the WNY region should not have insanely cheap electric on our side as a selling point to potential businesses that would otherwise scoff at the notion of (re)locating themselves in the area. Jeez, Niagara Falls generates 20.9% of all electricity used in the State!

Recapturing control of this resource and being fairly compensated for the fact that it is our local dollars that maintain much of the infrastructure that supports power generation at the Falls is one piece of the puzzle to restoring WNY’s former glory (or at least put a tourniquet on the slow and steady bleed draining the area) . . .

RaChaCha
RaChaCha

The NACC rocks! And deserves much better than to be made political football of.

Thank you, Oishei, for stepping up with your matching grant proposal!

buffloonitick
buffloonitick

looks like you found the caps key. cool isn't it?

paulsobo
paulsobo

Niagara Falls would be an interesting research study.

-It was once a world center for tourism. Now most goes to Canada. Now Robert Moses Parkway destroyed much of the Niagara River real state.

-The Niagara Falls Casino is just an island with no spinoff benefit to the residential, retail or business community.

-It was once the power generation center for the midwest, northeast and midwest. The jobs for the Power Authority are in Albany even though Niagara Falls is providing the power and the power authority pays no taxes.

-It was once home to a vibrant chemicals industry

-It was once home to world class advanced technology. TESLA's AC is stamped all over the power generation infrastructure. Yet TESLA and advanced technology are nowhere to be seen today.

-Niagara Falls was once a real city. Today its main traffic comes from those waiting to go to Canada.

While I support the Arts in Niagara Falls (like Buffalo) it doesnt need another pocket park or another art gallery.

I THINK NIAGARA FALLS SHOULD MAKE THE FOLLOWING DEMANDS:

-MOVE THE POWER AUTHORITY FROM ALBANY TO NIAGARA FALLS

-MAKE THE POWER AUTHORITY PAY TAXES ON THEIR LAND.

-EITHER PAY TAXES OR HAVE NYS PERMANENTLY FINANCE THE TESLA CENTER FOR EXCELLENCE WHERE RESEARCH IN ALL FORMS OF POWER GENERATION, DISTRIBUTION, MANAGEMENT ARE DONE.

-PARTNER UP WITH WHATEVER LOCAL COLLEGES ARE INTERESTED IN THE NEW CENTER FOR EXCELLENCE.

This will attract and create tomorrows businesses that could restore the city...and in restoring...provide the money to reboot tourism instead of being totally dependent on the insular exploitative goals of the Senecas and their casino.

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