NIAGARA FALLS – Two state lawmakers want work halted on a new State Parks Police station on the Niagara Gorge and the location for the barracks reconsidered.
State Sen. George D. Maziarz said he and Assemblyman John D. Ceretto issued a letter with that request Friday to State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey. Maziarz said he also plans to call Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office and ask the same thing.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea at all,” Maziarz said when asked about the agency’s decision to put the Parks Police barracks on state land on the gorge rim, just behind the Howard Johnson hotel on Main Street.
State parks officials have contended the site is not as prime a location as others believe, since it lacks a strong view of the gorge and has previously been disturbed by industrial activities.
But Maziarz, like other critics, said he believes locating the police station on the gorge “clearly goes against” what the state has agreed to do in terms of opening up the gorge for more public access by removing a section of the Robert Moses Parkway along the gorge from Main Street to Findlay Drive.
There are plenty of options for an alternative location in the City of Niagara Falls in terms of existing vacant buildings, which may also help with an increased police presence in the city, said Maziarz, R-Newfane.
Maziarz also said he was contacted about a year ago by several parks police officers who said they were concerned with the agency’s plans to move out of the existing station on Goat Island in Niagara Falls State Park. Maziarz said he contacted parks officials then.
He said he’s again reached out this week about the project.
Ceretto, R-Lewiston, said he supports the position of Mayor Paul A. Dyster and wants the state agency to look at other suggested sites.