NYPA Gives Upper Niagara Intake Observation Area $1.3 Million Facelift

Maura Balaban

December 8, 2011

Photo and Caption


LEWISTON - The New York Power Authority (NYPA) is nearing completion of $1.3 million in improvements to a 10-acre section of land at the Upper Niagara Intake Observation Area along the scenic Robert Moses Parkway in the City of Niagara Falls.

The work, which includes landscaping and recreation improvements, continues NYPA's tradition of enhancing recreational attractions within the boundaries of the Niagara Power Project going back to the project's original construction. The work is being done in cooperation with New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC).

Located in an area along the parkway with an arresting view, the area is dominated by the power project's two massive 90-foot tall intake structures, which allow water to be drawn into the plant from the Niagara River. The improvements are designed to enhance the site so visitors can make better use of the area without feeling dwarfed by the expanse of open space and the massive size of the nearby intake structures.

"It's been extremely gratifying to work on transforming this previously stark, exposed roadside stop into an attractive area with panoramic views and unparalleled access to shoreline fishing," said Edward Alkiewicz, director, Relicensing & Implementation, at NYPA. "We look forward to the day, in the not-too-distant future, when residents will actually be able to use and enjoy this park."

The improvements at the site stem from commitments NYPA made under the relicensing of the Niagara project in 2007. Once fully completed in early 2012, the measures will include six metal and glass fishing shelters to protect fishermen from the elements when they fish on the bulkhead; seven new picnic tables; six benches along the bulkhead roadway; two bicycle racks, one information kiosk at the center parking lot and signage.

The park's refurbishment also includes the planting of 200 native trees and shrubs which were similar to the original landscaping from the 1960s. In addition, approximately three acres of the 10-acre site will be converted from lawn to meadow to promote habitat for grassland birds, reduce mowing and improve sustainability.

"With thoughtful input from our partner agencies, we took great care to make sure that our enhancements improved safe access to, and visibility of, the river, and that the style of the new structures were all in keeping with the Modern architectural period, which characterizes the style of the entire Niagara project," said Alkiewicz. "The space feels very different already, and when the warm weather returns, we hope anglers and other recreation enthusiasts will appreciate the improvements."

The Power Authority also teamed with Seaway Trail, Inc., for the installation of two panels chronicling the local area's role in the French and Indian War. They feature illustrations, timelines, historic maps, photos and a map of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail that spans the St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, Niagara River and Lake Erie shorelines in New York and Pennsylvania.

In consultation with the NYSDEC, NYPA has undertaken several additional recreational measures within the project's boundary as part of the Niagara plant's relicensing, including improvements to fishing access facilities at the northern section of the Lewiston Reservoir Dike in the Town of Lewiston and parking enhancements at the fishing pier at the base of the Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant on the Lower Niagara River.

About NYPA:

■ The New York Power Authority uses no tax money or state credit. It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity. ■ NYPA is a leader in promoting energy efficiency, new energy technologies and electric transportation initiatives. ■ It is the nation's largest state public power organization, with 17 generating facilities in various parts of New York State and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. ■ Approximately 80 percent of the electricity it produces is clean renewable hydropower.  Its lower-cost power production and electricity purchases support hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the state. ■For more information, www.nypa.gov.


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