Less than a month before the prime visitor season, tourism officials are scurrying to secure another information center.
“We’ve been looking at One Niagara (the former Occidental Center),” said David Rosenwasser, president of the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp, the city’s official tourism agency.
Rosenwasser is convinced the building — local residents still call it the “flashcube” — would provide an ideal site to accommodate visitors. It is within a few steps of the Niagara Falls State Park.
Frank Parlato Jr., who owns the building once eyed for the state-of-the-art AquaFalls, has appeared receptive to the suggestion for including a first-floor information facility.
Obviously there are some concerns that the NTCC wants addressed before signing any lease agreement.
Proper signage would be vital. (When the former Convention and Visitors Bureau operated an information center at Fourth and Niagara streets, where the parking ramp stands, the CVB information sign was dwarfed by a private tourist operator next door). The sign at One Niagara must leave no doubt that it’s the “official site” for free information.
In addition, there needs to be direct access from the building to the state park. At present, the entrance on Niagara Street leads to the Prospect Park parking lot, a route that would only confuse tourists.
And, of course, it would help to have at least six spaces on the street reserved for 15-minute parking for visitors.
Lest we forget, Rosenwasser has another condition that’s on the table: Filling that 40-foot hole in the front yard.
Again this year, the NTCC information center will be staffed by volunteers. Last year, they operated out of the Niagara Office Building but apparently the new owners have other ideas for that enclosed space fronting Wendel Way and the Lackey Plaza.
Some day — hopefully — there will be a permanent visitors center.