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SEP 22 - SEP 29, 2015

Historic Sites Proposed by Cuomo Prompts Glynn Comparison

SEP 22, 2015

The old power plant was under consideration as an Historic Site and park area.


Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office announced this week that 27 properties statewide have been recommended by the state Board for Historic Preservation for consideration for approval to be listed on the state register and ultimately nominated to the national register for further review and possible inclusion as a National Historic Site.

One of these 27 sites was in Niagara County, the former Mount St. Mary’s Hospital, on Sixth Street in Niagara Falls.

According to a report in the Buffalo News, “The Sisters of St. Francis built the large-scale hospital, in neoclassical revival style, between 1912 and 1914, when their 30-bed hospital no longer could accommodate growing demand.”

Reporter columnist James Hufnagel scoffed at the historic designation in a published report.

“Cuomo's historic nomination of the Schoellkopf Power Station site lasted all of five seconds after he was notified James Glynn needed a new boatyard for his Maid of the Mist after being unceremoniously booted out of Canada,“ Hufnagel wrote. “No public process, no scoping, just send in the bulldozers.”

The Maid of the Mist for decades claimed that the absence of winter dockage on the American side justified their sole source – low rent lease on the American side for boat tours out of the Niagara Falls State Park since the Maid of the Mist had the Canadian license for boat tours – where there are winter docks.

After an investigative series in the Niagara Falls Reporter exposed the low- rent deal and other mystifying peculiarities of both Glynn’s Canadian and American contracts for the Maid of the Mist, the Ontario government canceled their contract with Maid and put the contract out to bid

The result was that Hornblower Cruises won the bidding paying some $300 million more than Maid was to have paid in their contract – thus earning the Ontario Niagara Parks Commission about $10 million more per year and converting their perennial $4 million annual deficit into a surplus to improve the parks systems there.

By law, once the Maid of the Mist lost their Canadian lease, they should have lost the New York lease and it should have gone out for bidding.

The Maid’s old argument that they were entitled to a no bid contract with New York Parks – because there could be no docks built on the New York side (because of geographical considerations) and since Glynn had the Canadian lease where the only winter docks exist, he was therefore the only company who could operate in New York – no longer held true.

Most observers expected that the New York side would go out to bid.

But Cuomo stepped and remarkably and  suddenly found it was possible to put winter docks  on the New York side after all - at the old Power plant – which had been previously been under consideration as an historic site.

Glynn is a major campaign donor to Cuomo, and others associated with Cuomo.

Despite Hornblower offering $100 million more for the New York boat tours than Maid of the Mist, Cuomo preferred to build docks for Glynn’s Maid of the Mist –virtually eradicating historic elements of the proposed historic site.

The Niagara Preservation Coalition unsuccessfully sued the state over the alteration of Glynn’s existing contract with the state, claiming that the site’s historic integrity would be severely compromised by laying a cement pad and building the docking facility.

Despite the significant impact of a new project there, it was still designated as historic on the National Register of Historic places in April 2013.

And now there are 27 more sites under consideration.

Hopefully Glynn, or any other politically connected and generous donor doesn’t need any of them.

Make way for the Maid. In a deal that cost state taxpayers more than $100 million in lost rent, Gov. Cuomo opened up the historic site for James Glynn's Maid of the Mist.






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