Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

October 20, 2009

Angela P. Berti, OPRHP
Connie M. Cullen, NYPA

Nearly $3 Million Awarded to State Parks Projects to Enhance Niagara River Greenway: New York Power Authority Disburses Funds for Important Recreational Projects

LEWISTON—Funding totaling almost $3 million for eight projects to benefit several New York State Parks in Western New York was recently announced by the New York State Parks Greenway Fund Standing Committee (State Parks Standing Committee) which is overseeing a portion of the funds dedicated to the establishment of the Niagara River Greenway as a result of the relicensing of the New York Power Authority's (NYPA) Niagara Power Project.

"One of the most important investments in Western New York made by the Power Authority during the relicensing is the improvement and expansion of the great New York State parks in the region," said NYPA President and CEO Richard M. Kessel. "Blazing new trails for hikers, making access to water recreation easier, and installing capital improvements to historic grounds and buildings will continue the world-class reputation of these facilities while creating opportunities for local contractors and businesses to perform this work."

"To have this additional source of funding through NYPA is invaluable as we move forward to improve our parks along the Niagara River," said New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Carol Ash. "We know that the impact of parks in the Niagara region is significant—creating 4,701 jobs and spurring $569 million of economic output according to a study by Parks and Trails NY this past March. The projects that we are able to undertake because of this extra influx of cash will go along way in permitting residents and visitors alike to enjoy all there is to do along the waterfront."

The State Parks Standing Committee approved $2.9 million at their July and September meetings to fund the following projects:

  • $280,000 for rehabilitation of the stairs at Artpark State Park Theatre;
  • $175,000 for construction of an East River connector trail at Beaver Island State Park;
  • $76,000 to construct a handicapped-accessible boat launch and water sports facility at the East River Marsh;
  •  $250,000 for the development of a comprehensive operations plan for the Niagara Reservation State Park;
  •  $1.1 million for safety improvements to the Cave of the Winds Shelter and Path at Niagara Reservation State Park
  • $15,000 in support of the Boundary Waters Treaty Centennial Celebration; - $879,000 for electrical and roof improvements at Old Fort Niagara State Park; and
  • $140,000 for the Niagara River Gorge Hiking Trail System's design and build project.

Work is expected to start on the projects at various times over the next several years.

The projects received unanimous support from the Niagara River Greenway Commission. Details of the projects are available at The State Parks Standing Committee includes a representative from the Office of New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and a representative from NYPA.

In 2008, the State Parks Standing Committee awarded $2.6 million for projects which brings the grand total to $5.5 million for projects funded. The Committee is one of four standing committees that will distribute funding from NYPA for projects deemed consistent with the Greenway Plan.

The State Parks Standing Committee receives funds from NYPA, as part of a settlement agreement related to the 50-year license received by NYPA for the Niagara project in 2007. In addition to the State Parks Standing Committee, three other standing committees were created to disperse funds those groups received in other settlement agreements with NYPA. The other committees are: Greenway Ecological Standing Committee, Host Community Greenway Fund Standing Committee and the Erie County Greenway Fund Standing Committee.

The Niagara River Greenway Commission is a public benefit corporation established by Chapter 460 of the laws of 2004, and charged with the planning and development of a greenway of interconnected parks, river access points and waterfront trails along the Niagara River from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario at the site of the historic Fort Niagara.

To learn more about the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation: To learn more information about the Commission: To get more information about NYPA and the relicensing of the Niagara project: