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MAY 19 - MAY 26, 2015

NTCC Funded by Locals, Works to Enrich State, Delaware North, Glynn

By James Hufnagel

May 19, 2015

Every tourist that dines at Top of the Falls restaurant (recommended by the NTCC) or any of the other Delaware North snack bars and food booths in the Niagara Falls State Park is one less that will venture into the city and patronize its establishments.

"Explore Niagara Falls USA" is the official Facebook page of the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corporation (NTCC). Of the nearly 155,000 worldwide who have visited the page, 63,036 have "liked" it and receive regular updates regarding tourist attractions and activities here. The preponderance of postings promote the Niagara Falls State Park and Glynn's Maid of the Mist boat ride, in fact, fully 20 of the most recent 27 postings over the past two months in some way promote the park and boat ride, the other 7 touching on attractions elsewhere in the city and Niagara County.

The mission of the NTCC is "to expand the economic prosperity of the Niagara USA communities by generating individual and group visitation." On May 14, the NTCC posted the following on "Explore Niagara Falls USA": "Enjoy lunch or dinner with a view at Top of the Falls Restaurant inside Niagara Falls State Park, USA! Open daily beginning May 25." accompanied by a photo of a group of eight young people seated at a table being served a meal on a balcony overlooking the Falls.

Top of the Falls restaurant is owned by New York State Parks and operated by Delaware North Companies, a multinational food service management company based in Buffalo and privately held by Jeremy Jacobs and his sons. According to Forbes magazine, family patriarch Jacobs, the owner of the Boston Bruins hockey team, is worth in excess of $3 billion.

The Olmsted plan for Niagara Falls State Park stipulates that "If it were a commercial undertaking into which the State was entering, in competition with the people of the village of Niagara, it cannot be questioned that the restaurant could be made profitable."

Top of the Falls competes directly with the restaurants of downtown Niagara Falls and those of surrounding communities. The city of Niagara Falls annually funds the NTCC to the tune of over $1 million, derived from bed taxes. According to Business First, in 2013 the Niagara County bed tax provided $108,981 to the NTCC, and it also received $1.57 million from bed taxes generated in the city of Niagara Falls (nearly half of the agency's $3.6 million total revenue) and $92,102 from bed taxes generated in the city of Lockport.

We would like to know why a local tourism promotion agency, the NTCC, is huckstering a restaurant located on state parkland, owned by Albany and operated by a Buffalo multinational fast food conglomerate, in direct competition with city-owned businesses, and provides reams of free advertising for Niagara Falls State Park and Maid of the Mist, when it is predominantly funded by taxes on local businesses.





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