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Published on December 12th, 2017 | by Ken Cosentino

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Niagara Falls, NY: Designed To Fail

The city of Niagara Falls, NY is approaching financial catastrophe and people are pointing fingers.

Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster is blaming the Senecas.

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo is blaming the Senecas.

The Senecas aren’t blaming anybody.

The people are fed up with Mayor Paul Dyster.

You see, Dyster used much of the $125 million from funds delivered to the city by the Seneca Niagara Casino, to balance the city’s budget. Payments from the casino have stopped and the city is now screwed. This money was intended for development and the creation of jobs with livable wages. Only a handful of residents claim that the “city is on an upswing!” and “there are jobs here!”, but those residents always have ties back to Dyster. It’s not even something that you have to look into – most of them were hired by the mayor, and many of them were given huge raises by the mayor. Just recently, the city council voted to cut the mayor’s special assistant, to save money in the budget… an act which the mayor vetoed. Look, for those of you reading this who aren’t from Niagara Falls: Our mayor doesn’t need a special assistant. He is absent, he is sluggish, he only appears at meetings where he is absolutely required to show up, and he only shows up to public events when it makes him look good. His involvement with our community is a facade; he doesn’t even stay for city council meetings to hear residents speak about their concerns. Simply put, Mayor Paul Dyster does not speak on behalf of the people of Niagara Falls, NY. He speaks on behalf of the state.

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Worse yet, he squandered $125 million and set the stage for financial collapse. Did I mention he had a statue commissioned for $620,000? That’s an expensive piece of public art. $50,000 came from USA Niagara, $85,000 came from casino funds (directly from the city), and an additional $485,000 came from Niagara Greenway; part of the payment being necessary to reinforce water pipes since the statue was just far too heavy. Here I’d like to point out that, also recently, residents on 72nd street went without water for over a year. Mayor Dyster made a major snafu when, to save money, he authorized piping that wasn’t buried deep enough and led to freezing and eventually bursting. He then turned a blind eye to the issue and put it on the back burner, much to the dismay of residents living on 72nd street. Reinforcing water pipes to support the weight of an overpriced statue was more of a priority to the mayor than residents having running water. Let that sink in.

So how is it that Niagara Falls was designed to fail? Well, let me give you a brief history lesson so that we can all understand how it is we’ve arrived in this situation. It all started in 1883, with the Niagara Reservation Act. The Niagara Falls State Park as it stands today sits atop what is called the “Niagara Reservation.” The reservation is a nature preserve, if you can believe that. In 1883, New York State passed an act creating the boundaries for the reservation and in 1885 the state claimed the lands via eminent domain and paid the previous owners, the Porter family, for the land. The whole argument was based on turning the area surrounding the upper rapids into a nature preserve so that it could be enjoyed by everyone for all time.

Prior to 1885, the Porter family had a paper mill and some industry set up on Goat Island. Locals and visitors alike would have to pay a toll if they wished to see the falls. It’s a whole ugly, greedy setup and it hasn’t changed much except now it’s a big lie and it’s perpetuated by the state and their constituents. New York State Assemblyman Thomas V. Welch led a group known as “Free Niagara” to have the state seize the property from the Porter family, under the guise that everyone would now be able to enjoy the view of the falls for free. Free Niagara promised to remove industry from Goat Island and create a nature preserve. To drive the campaign home, they recruited Frederick Law Olmsted, the famous naturalist architect who was responsible for creating Yosemite National Park and Central Park in New York City. The con was set in place, and Olmsted was not made aware of his exploitation until after he’d already created the reservation. The village of Manchester (now known as the city of Niagara Falls) was littered with propaganda and news stories about the saviors of the world treasure; the movement which was going to preserve God’s creation and drive out the wicked industrialists. This was all a big ploy to create a state owned monopoly and it all had to do with power… literally!

Thomas V. Welch and his constituents saw an opportunity to utilize the flow of the falls and turn it into a power generator. Once the state paid the bill in 1885, Welch and company immediately bought major stock in the Niagara Power Company and began looking for a blueprint to solidify their plan. This led to Nikola Tesla and his patents for alternating current, and the rest is history. Corporations were coaxed into building along the upper river (just outside the set boundaries for the Niagara Reservation) and what was once Free Niagara was now supplying power to ten times the industry that Porter had set up. These factories were producing hazardous waste which they were allowed to dump right in the river…. a problem which seems to be plaguing us to this day. As for the Niagara Reservation, New York State to this day claims to be upholding Olmsted’s vision and abiding by the original regulations. According to Olmsted’s rules, only two buildings were allowed to be constructed on Goat Island, and both were to be shelters so that visitors could be kept out of the rain.

So then why is this relevant? First of all, Thomas V. Welch was highly influential in incorporating the city of Niagara Falls, NY in 1892. He was with Governor Roswell P. Flower when he signed the first city charter, and Welch even supplied the pen! The creation of the Niagara Reservation helped Welch’s political career and boosted his bank account in ways that most people would fail to understand.

The Niagara Reservation was created in 1883 with the Niagara Reservation Act, yet the state claims it was created in 1885 with the Niagara Appropriations Bill. Undoubtedly, they reason that the reservation wasn’t real until the bill was paid. They flaunt it as the “oldest state park”, yet Thomas V. Welch is quoted in a public speech to state assembly as saying it will not be a state park! Nothing like a park will be built! Here, read this excerpt from his speech, which is accredited with inspiring the creation of the Niagara Reservation: