NIAGARA FALLS, NY (WKBW)- Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster defended the Cataract City Monday after receiving harsh criticism. Critics claim the city is not doing enough to promote and plan for the upcoming high wire act over the falls performed by Nik Wallenda in June. Mayor Dyster says those claims are absurd.
"Nothing could be further from the truth," said Mayor Dyster. "We came out today to show the world the preparations we're putting into this event on June 15th to make it a success."
The city outlined its plan for the weeks leading up to the event and the performance itself. The Niagara Falls Police Department says its dedicating about 50 officers, in addition to their regular staff, to work in designated zones for the performance. The main focus will be on crowd control and easing traffic. Each zone will only allow a specific number of cars to park. Once each zone is filled, the roads surrounding the park will start to shut down.
"Parking will be on a first-come first-serve basis. Once we close the roads down, they'll be closed with barricades and police officers will provide direction and advice to motorists to find a way to park."
Old Falls Street will also provide tourists and their families activities throughout the week leading up to the high wire event, as well as the event itself.
"We'll have clowns, acrobatics, puppets, a petting zoo, and sideshow attractions. Everything will be along Old Falls Street," said Ryan Coate, General Manager of the Conference & Event Center Niagara Falls.
To help ease congestion, 2 Jumbotrons will broadcast Wallenda's stunt for spectators along Old Falls Street. The Niagara Falls Department of Public Works & Parks will also begin road repairs and start beautifying some green space. A marketing campaign has also begun in surrounding cities and states including: Cleveland, Columbus, Pittsburgh and Rochester.
Nik Wallenda's high wire performance is scheduled for June 15th.