Wallenda still interested in Falls attraction

Posted at 6:49 PM, Jun 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-18 08:35:32-04

It might be hard to believe but it was four years ago this week that Nik Wallenda made his historic walk across the face of the Horseshoe Falls back in June 2012.

Tourism rates soared during the two-week period around the walk and they have continued to grow ever since. Was it Wallenda's feat that is inspiring tourists to see the mighty cataract?

"We've got to believe, even if it took people a few years to get here, that it was that event that stimulated them to want to come," said Mayor Paul Dyster.

"We still get visitors who come, and maybe they forgot about it, but when you say this is where Nik walked, they say "Oh my gosh! That was unbelievable and I watched in on TV.  Was he tethered? What happened?" They want to hear the whole story," added Angela Berti from New York State Parks.

Huge crowds gathered along the Niagara Gorge to witness the daredevil brave a thick mist and make his way across a special cable.  It was estimated that 120,000 people were on the Canadian side with thousands more on the American side.  The walk was also broadcast live across the globe by ABC-TV with an audience estimated at more than 13 million viewers.

"That worldwide exposure was invaluable," said John Percy from the Niagara Tourism & Convention Corporation.

On his Facebook page, Nik Wallenda posted the following note:

Today marks 4 years since I became the first person to walk directly over Niagara Falls on a wire! A dream come true. A piece of me will always be there, and I still have dreams of returning to that area with a permanent attraction. You know what I always say...."Never give up"!

According to Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster, Nik Wallenda continues to be interested in opening a family-friendly daredevil attraction in unused portions of the old Rainbow Mall.  The $150 million "Wonder Falls" project is still in the early stages of planning with Uniland Development Company.

"I've been in touch with him (Wallenda) as recently as lunch hour and he is still very interested in participating in a project like that.  The next step to move that forward is for us to work to conclude the development agreement," said Mayor Dyster.