Future is Misty for Niagara Falls Attraction

February 23, 2012 Updated Oct 10, 2013 at 3:54 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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February 23, 2012 Updated Oct 10, 2013 at 3:54 PM EDT

NIAGARA FALLS, NY (WKBW-TV) - It's been known as the Maid of the Mist since 1846 but a recent decision on the Canadian side could change that come 2014. California based company Hornblower was awarded a 30-year lease worth $500-million to operate the boat tours during a recent RFP process.

"An RFP is typically a regulated process that will specify certain criteria that the government is looking for in this case the Canadian government and then it's a competition," said Sam Hoyt, Regional President for Empire State Development.

Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster says he believes the Maid of the Mist Corporation felt they offered a competitive proposal, which is in the early stages of a 40-year lease on the American side.

"I think the Maid of the Mist Corporation has expressed concern over the future of their operations," said Dyster.

We tried reaching out the Glynn family, who owns the Maid of the Mist this afternoon but were unsuccessful.
Currently the infrastructure to run the attraction is on the Canadian side, which could pose a problem in the future.

"The boats have to be removed seasonally, maintenance has to be done sometimes emergency work needs to be done on propellers," Dyster said. "The infrastructure to do that the roadway, the big boat ramps are on the Canadian side."

Empire State Development Regional President Sam Hoyt says the two companies need to sit down and work out the details as there will soon be an American and Canadian side with two different companies.

As for the upcoming tourist season things are expected to be business as usual. The Maid of the Mist boats are expected to go into the water the week of April 12.