Join us this Wednesday as we blitz clean-up Columbus Park just in time for the Italian Festival. We're a group of ordinary citizens dedicated to keeping our city beautiful! Anyone can participate! This is great for youth groups, girl scouts, sports teams, etc! There is nothing like the experience of giving back and doing good for your community. Message me if you're interested in getting your group involved!
On Monday, July 29th at 6:30pm in the Upstairs Auditorium a forum will be held by Niagara Falls Community Coalition to share creative ideas and strategies to maximize the resources of Niagara Falls and increasing the quality of life. The continuous exchange of ideas and networking with other dedicated citizens is the recipe for change. Let's work together to share, discover, and implement ideas that will improve the experiences of residents, visitors and businesses.
MONDAY, JULY 29, 2013 at 6:30 pm
NIAGARA FALLS PUBLIC LIBRARY
1425 MAIN STREET
NIAGARA FALLS, NEW YORK 14305
I cannot consider myself a true urban planner or urban pioneer unless I venture into areas of which are off the beaten path. This photo is of a small area between two mixed use apartment buildings on Niagara Street right across from the casino parking ramp. Some people find hope in the successes that occur around them. For example, the NCCC Culinary Institute has reignited the hope for many young city and county residents. I however find hope in the failures that surround us. Why? Behind every failure there is something to learn. Something to build from. Take the Main St Music & Arts festival from 2012. It frankly didn't live up to expectations. It was a failure. Albeit a beautiful failure. Why a beautiul failure? It was beautiful because out of the 2012 festival rose the revamped, rebranded, and exciting 2013 festival that was a hit in Downtown Niagara Falls.
If failure was a bad thing, why have so many successful people identified it as the key to success? They answer is simple. They understand the value of failing forward into progress. Rick Crogran understands that. We cannot afford to be paralyzed by our past failures. Everytime time something fails in this city, the council collapses into immature act of blaming one another or the Mayor. How can a Mayor lead a city with a council thats gnawing at his feet every step of the way. Leadership is servanthood. A Willingness to serve even when its not convenient. We saw that in Mayor Dyster this past Friday when we was directing traffic in the typhoon outside. Where I don't see it is on the City Council. Hasn't anyone ever heard of table manners? Insulting one another in front of the public? Is that appropriate in the Military? I think not. Is that appropriate in the classroom? I think not. Matter of fact its not appropriate anywhere.
For the first time in my life, I am starting to reconsider my commitment to stay here. What people fail to realize is that young men and women like myself DO NOT have a vested interest here other than 'hometown' pride that quite honestly doesnt exist among us. There isn't anything stopping us from jumping ship. We are not limited by a mortgage, a family, or business endeavors. We are free spirits seeking to get ahead in life and to form a foundation for our future. We cannot form a foundation here where the earth is unstable and unpredictable.
Just a few of my thoughts this fine morning! I still have hope but its not because of anything I see in the environment around me. I have hope because I have faith in the will of man to come to his senses and start making progressive decisions and not be paralyzed by fear of failure. Niagara Falls will never get ahead with conservative and shortsighted thinking. We will get ahead when we start taking more chances. Chances that might lead to failure but will eventually lead to success if we persist together.
Where else on EARTH can you experience the majestic beauty of Niagara Falls and the Niagara Gorge footsteps from your front porch? The hustle and bustle of modern society often leaves little room for the tranquil ambiance of mother nature. Cities built up so grandly like New York City recognize the necessity of have greenspace to offset the built environment and have spent millions of dollars constructing massive parks/greenspaces . We here in Niagara Falls are blessed with an abundance of natural beauty that we often take for granted. When's the last time you took a stroll on Goat Island? Hiked the Niagara Gorge? Relaxed at the Gorge Rim? Its right in our backyard and is a short commute away. Take advantage of whats yours and don't let all the tourists have all the enjoyment of our precious assets.
Imagine a Niagara Falls that isn’t fearful or chained down by willful ignorance. A Niagara Falls that welcomes new ideas, creativity, and risk-takers. A Niagara Falls that rises up to the occasion and blows away expectations in everything we do. If you attended last month’s Niagara Falls Music and Art Festival on Old Falls Street, you saw that type of thinking in action.
With recent improvements to Old Falls Street and neighboring businesses, the Downtown core is beginning to show significant signs of growth and progress. These improvements were on display for the thousands of festival goers, made up of both residents and tourists. Main Street Business Association President Rick Crogan and his dedicated volunteer team executed a magnificent event that lined the entire stretch of Old Falls Street with unique vendors showcasing their handcrafted products, tasteful cuisine, and more.
Throughout the entire event there seemed to be a steady flow of patrons exploring the works of various artists, craftsman, and food vendors from all over Western New York. The festival ambience was bolstered by the recent additions of outdoor dining accommodations by TGIFs and Savor, the fine dining restaurant located inside the NCCC Culinary Institute. Old Falls Street’s recent and branding improvement aided the effort to create a beautiful setting and an even better festival atmosphere. The product delivered by the festival organizers exceeded my preconceived expectations based on its predecessor, the Main Street Music & Arts Festival, which took place in 2011 and again in 2012. This year’s festival showed tremendous progress and provided a glimpse into a bright future for festivals in Downtown Niagara Falls. With a unified effort and a willingness to persevere, great events can occur.
Rick Crogan and his team had a vision and they relentlessly pursued it, never measuring the festivals future success against its past blunders. There isn’t room for ordinary thinking anymore. The dire state of the city is anything but ordinary and needs innovative solutions to cure the problems plaguing our community. Take a look around at other struggling cities; you’ll quickly find that what we in Niagara Falls consider innovative is actually a standard in those places. Mural arts programs in Philadelphia are revitalizing neighborhoods. “Pop-Up” art galleries are bringing life to vacant commercial storefronts in Chicago. We must begin to think BIG as Rick Crogran did and take back our city. If nothing changes, nothing changes. Reclaiming our prosperity and rebuilding our legacy as a destination community isn’t going to happen if we continue to think inside the box. Remember this saying come election time later on this year, “If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten.”