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State to present proposal of turning off Falls

Posted at 9:58 PM, Jan 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-27 07:04:05-05

A public hearing on the proposal to temporarily divert water from the American side of Niagara Falls is scheduled for Wednesday.

The New York State Parks Department is considering the idea because it wants to replace two old stone bridges. One bridge runs from the mainland to Green Land -- the other bridge extends from Green Land to Goat Island. Both are 115 years old.

According to the parks department, construction could cost anywhere from $21 million to more than $37 million. That's if this project were handled this year. However, we're told this isn't expected to happen for several years, if at all, in part because of a lack of funding. The parks department is considering three proposals. Two would divert water from the American side of the falls.

Paul Dyster is the mayor of the City of Niagara Falls. He said “dewatering” the falls will undoubtedly impact tourism. “Perhaps people from within the region, people who can drive here who want to see it while it's "dewatered" may come to visit when otherwise you might not get them to visit,” Dyster said. “They've seen the Falls once already but they haven't seen it without water flowing. They might then make a visit they might not make. On the other hand, you have to be concerned about people who today might be planning a trip to Niagara Falls two years from now.”

Wednesday’s public hearing begins at 5:00 PM. There will be an information session first. That takes place from 5-6:30. The formal meeting will begin at 6:30.

Dyster said they're expecting a large turnout. It's being held in the Grand Ballroom of the Niagara Falls Conference Center.

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