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Niagara Citizens Urged to Voice Opinions

Community leader James Szwedo is urging citizens to participate in a public hearing on March 13th at Niagara Falls City Hall.

Niagara Street Neighborhood Revitalization Organization, Inc. President Jim Szwedo is urging citizens to participate in a public hearing on March 13th at Niagara Falls City Hall, which will address the city’s attempt to force the sale of private land.

The issue at stake is Mayor Robert Restaino’s plans to use eminent domain to purchase 10 acres of land from Niagara Falls Redevelopment LLC (NFR) to build a $150 million events center and parking ramp.

Szwedo proposes an alternative site for the events center on city-owned land that would save taxpayers $70 million. The public hearing will give citizens a chance to speak their minds on the issue.

Jim Szwedo released a message to the people of Niagara Falls. It is published in full below.

By Jim Szwedo

On March 13th at 6 PM, the city will hold a public hearing which could change the direction of Niagara Falls for generations to come.

This hearing is once again pitting private development against an egoistic and self-serving city administration that believes their vision for Niagara Falls is the only one that counts.

I really thought those days were behind us, with the end of our previous mayor’s reign. But it appears history is repeating itself.

I have worked hard representing the community for over 20 years. My group and I receive no salaries. We do this because we care about Niagara Falls, and we value the voices of the community.

At previous public hearings, it was obvious that almost every community organization disagreed with the administration’s plan to move his project forward, on the backs of our poorest citizens.

I heard their voices, but the question is, why didn’t the mayor, and the administration listen?

I call upon every citizen who wants their voices heard to JOIN ME on the 13th. If you believe, as I do, that the city can finally move both projects forward – the Niagara Digital Campus and the Centennial Park, through negotiation and not litigation, JOIN ME!

If you believe, as I do, that we need an administration that speaks to its citizens, not lawyers, JOIN ME!

If you believe, as I do, that we have a chance to impact the future of our children through a deal structured by negotiation, cooperation, and public participation, JOIN ME!

If you want the mayor to speak to the citizens, not to lawyers, JOIN ME!

If you want the Council to represent the citizens that elected them, JOIN ME!

And finally, if you think I am totally wrong, JOIN ME and have your voices heard!

I will be there on the 13th to defend my position to the citizens in person. The mayor’s lawyers (whom the citizens of Niagara Falls are paying) will be there to defend the mayor’s position.

As always, I thank you for your consideration, and hope you will be there on the 13th to JOIN ME.

Full Coverage from the Niagara Reporter

About the author

Richard Luthmann

Richard Luthmann is a writer, commentator, satirist, and investigative journalist with degrees from Columbia University and the University of Miami. Once a fixture in New York City and State politics, Luthmann is a recovering attorney who lives in Southwest Florida and a proud member of the National Writers Union. 

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