One Plan to Rule Them All
by Kevin F. Yost
The ideas for either a multi-billion dollar new stadium for the Buffalo Bills plus a new convention center along the Outer Harbor or even spending millions less to either renovate Ralph Wilson Stadium or build a new stadium of the Niagara Falls Redevelopment site in downtown Niagara Falls simply do not make sense. Such would simply be a waste of taxpayers’ money down a pit. Plus, the current Buffalo Convention Center has just been renovated, and the Niagara Falls Conference Center opened not long ago to replace its predecessor.
However, the proposed North American Museum of Sport and Culture is a good idea. This should go elsewhere to Buffalo’s downtown and Inner Harbor, perhaps in the Harbor Center and be connected with the Sabres tying in with the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame in First Niagara Center. This should take in what was former in the short-lived Sports Museum of America in Manhattan, whose contents are in a storage locker in New Jersey, plus Canada’s sports history and memorabilia. Moreover, the Billie Jean King International Women’s Sports Center and Hall of Fame of the Women’s Sports Foundation, which had a short-lived permanent home in that museum in Manhattan, should also get a new permanent home, but in Rochester, side-by-side with a new home for a re-formed National Soccer Hall of Fame of US Soccer after the original one closed in Oneonta, New York three years ago. These could then be part of a “trail” of the many sports museums and halls of fame that are located in or just outside Upstate New York.
Meanwhile, the Buffalo History Museum could have exhibits and displays for local Buffalo sports history, local grain mills, US Presidents Millard Fillmore and Grover Cleveland, and the former Burgwardt bicycle collection. Local sports history could alternatively be in the Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame in the First Niagara Center as could the contents of the former Bergwardt Bicycle Museum be in the Buffalo Transportation/Pierce Arrow Museum. Also, the Buffalo Firefighter’s Museum should be relocated to one of the two former ferry terminals while the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority should keep the terminal other for a new ferry to Canada on the route of the former Canadiana. Plus, a museum for the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 5, which was also earlier turned down from the waterfront, should go there with alternative locations at the harborfronts of Rochester, Oswego, or Syracuse. Moreover, the proposed architecture museum should be in the Richardson Complex, while the proposed weather museum could either go there or on either of the two Buffalo waterfronts.
In Wheatfield, the mostly-vacant Summit Park Mall should be demolished and the proposed Wizard of Oz themepark should be built on that site. Meanwhile, within the “Cataract City” limits, the rest of the Rainbow Centre should be home to what few store remain in the Summit Park Mall. It should also become home to the often-discussed Niagara Experience Center, which should also contain the shelved “Aquafalls” in a modern, energy-efficient wintergarden. The Medina Historic Railroad should also be extended to Niagara Falls to the west and High Falls in Rochester to the east along the former New York Central Falls Branch right-of-way and should have scenic stops at the waterfalls in Lockport, Medina, and Albion as well. The Niagara Falls Redevelopment lands if they are not occupied by a new Bills stadium (bad there just the same), could become a resurrected Niagara Splash waterpark, either privately-owned and operated or by the Seneca Nation. This and the Niagara Falls Aquarium could both compete with and complement Marineland in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.
- Kevin F. Yost, Henrietta
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