ADVERTISEMENT

NIAGARA FALLS – One of the prime viewing spots of the American Falls – where tourists at Niagara Falls State Park can feel the fine mist that sprays from the roaring rapids of the Niagara River crashing over the brink of the falls – is again open.

Prospect Point, the popular viewing area just south of the Observation Tower, is in the midst of a $4.3 million renovation. The first part wrapped up Monday, and the second part began, at least ceremonially, Wednesday.

The renovations are one phase of a massive $25 million overhaul of the world-famous park that began after a 2011 travel article in the New York Times that was critical of conditions at the park that draws 8 million visitors per year.

Prospect Point is one of the most popular spots in the park. It allows tourists to get within a few feet of the brink of the falls – that’s something that can’t be done on the Canadian side of the cataracts.

While many laud the development on the Canadian side of the falls – the hotels, casinos and other things for tourists to do – others find the more natural experience of closeness to the water on the American side as a key to its attractiveness.

At the newly refurbished viewing spot on the American side, there are new railings, benches, walkway surfaces and light fixtures over a total area of about 38,000 square feet.

That work began just after Memorial Day.

The area was closed all summer.

The second phase of work will continue to the north and to the south of the improvements that just wrapped up.

It’s expected to be completed by late summer or early fall of next year.

The entire park project is anticipated to be completed sometime in 2017.

“We’re doing these projects all over Niagara Falls State Park to transform the appearance of this park,” Parks Western Regional Director Mark W. Thomas said during a morning news conference at the park.

email: abesecker@buffnews.com