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NFR’s Roger Trevino in the Niagara Gazette

September 22, 2023

The following viewpoint article by Roger Trevino of Niagara Falls Redevelopment (NFR) appeared in the Niagara Gazette on September 22, 2023:

GUEST VIEW: In defense of NFR land deal

In response to Wednesday’s article “Council attorney says eminent domain case is ‘strong’ ”:

As we have stated in the past, we believe NFR has a strong case that the city’s eminent domain attempt violates the rights of private property owners — rights that are guaranteed under both the New York and United States constitutions. The notion that a private land owner should give up those rights so that Mayor Restaino can waste taxpayer money pursuing his unfunded, election-year event center gamble should be repellent to the citizens of Niagara Falls.

We plan to defend our rights vigorously. It is NFR land under attack today, but it could be your land tomorrow. And, as in the urban renewal schemes of the 1970s, we’ve seen the damage that unchecked eminent domain power can do to this community.

But here are the real questions surrounding this issue: Should the City of Niagara Falls turn its back on an NFR land donation of more than 10 acres, along with $3.5 million over the course of a decade for upkeep, maintenance and economic development projects? Particularly when it has other alternatives for an event center, on land already owned by the city and closer to restaurants, bars and other local businesses? How on earth can reasonable people call this a “bad deal,” as (Attorney Jeffrey Palumbo) allegedly did, according to your article?

And should the City of Niagara Falls spend the tens of millions that will be needed to acquire the land even if it wins the eminent domain case? And then spend hundreds of millions more to build Mayor Restaino’s so-called Centennial Park project — including $30-$40 million for a new parking garage when there is more than enough underused parking on the other side of the Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino?

Most importantly: should the city turn its back on the $1.5 billion Niagara Digital Campus, with an estimated 5,600 construction jobs and more than 500 permanent, high technology jobs? Should it turn its back on enhanced broadband access and improvement to the city’s electrical grid? To additional tax revenues? To school programs designed to enlighten and train new generations of city residents, so that Niagara Falls can finally be part of the high-tech, information and data revolution that is transforming our economy and our lives?

Rather than spreading anonymous rumors about privileged attorney-client communications, perhaps city leaders and your newspaper should be seeking answers to these questions.


Niagara Falls Redevelopment