Niagara’s Game-Changer: New Arena + Digital Campus to Boost Economy, Skips Eminent Domain Hassle – Niagarafallsreporter.com

It is possible to have both an arena and a digital center. Here is where they could be located.
With the Mayoral election over, Niagara Falls can now turn its attention to the “two-project solution” as a potential avenue for economic growth and development in the city. This solution aims to provide residents with an arena, parkland, and a state-of-the-art Niagara Digital Campus, without burdening taxpayers with the costs and complexities of an eminent domain battle.
The plan is based on several key facts:
City and state-owned properties in Niagara Falls, including a parcel on the corner of Third and Niagara Streets, are considered ideal locations for an events center. These government-owned sites would come at no cost to the people of Niagara Falls, unlike the costly eminent domain battle that the city is currently pursuing.
The Rainbow Mall municipal parking ramp, owned by the city, sits adjacent to the Third and Niagara property. Utilizing this existing parking facility would eliminate the need for the city to spend an estimated $35 – $40 million on new parking for the events center.
The trend in American cities is to reduce the number of parking spaces to make way for other uses, as highlighted in an article by The Wall Street Journal titled “America Has Too Much Parking. Really.” Therefore, the proposal questions the need for the city to invest in additional parking when an underutilized parking garage next to city-owned land already exists.
NFR, a private entity, is willing to donate over 10 acres of land and $3.5 million to maintenance and economic development projects over the next decade. This generous donation eliminates the need for the city to acquire land, and the annual funding would contribute to the future upkeep and enhancement of the proposed park.
The lot at Third and Niagara Streets is perfect for an events center. Consider the Meridian Centre, an arena with a maximum 6,000-seat capacity in nearby St. Catharines, Ontario would fit easily on the lot:.
The proposed location on the corner of Third and Niagara Streets is strategically advantageous for the events center. It is close to Third Street’s hospitality businesses, hotels, and other commercial establishments and offers ample parking options.
Notably, this solution aligns with the 2009 Comprehensive Plan adopted by the City of Niagara Falls, emphasizing the need to have such facilities near the commercial businesses centered around the Third Street corridor. Furthermore, it aligns with the Downtown Niagara Falls Development Study, conducted in 2021 and adopted by the State of New York and the USA Niagara Development Corporation. It identifies the Third and Niagara location as part of the Niagara Falls Heritage Path for development.
A facility of this size would fit perfectly on the existing city-owned lot on Niagara Street between First and Third Streets. This map shows how it would fit.
• And here is a rendering of how the facility would look from Niagara Street:
The two-project solution presents Niagara Falls with an opportunity to foster economic growth, create high-tech jobs, and expand its tax base. By capitalizing on existing city-owned and state-owned properties, the city can avoid the financial and legal burdens associated with eminent domain battles and emphasize the long-term benefits for its residents.
In addition, the Third and Niagara location is right in the center of the Niagara Falls Heritage Path identified for development in a 2021 Downtown Niagara Falls Development Study adopted by the State of New York and the USA Niagara Development Corporation:
 


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