NIAGARA FALLS, NY - Despite a cool reception in terms of assistance from the state of New York, a developer is pushing ahead with his plan to build an indoor water park in downtown Niagara Falls.
“We’ve made a lot of good headway a lot of parties have stepped up to try and make this development happen,” said DiCienzo, who is proposing to build $20 million water park on a parcel adjacent to his Sheraton Hotel.
He’s due before the Niagara County Development Agency next month seeking a 12-year break on property and sales taxes, and also the city’s lead economic development agency, which will consider a $300 grant to move the project forward.
“One party that has not come to the table so far has been the state, via Empire State Development, but all the other parties have stepped up and it’s getting a lot of momentum,” DiCienzo said.
The state has told us in the past it's unwilling to support DiCienzo’s project in part because it's already backing a water park as part of the Wonder Falls project.
But that project, proposed by key campaign donors to Governor Andrew Cuomo, was announced three years ago and yet to get off the ground.
One thing which convinced DiCienzo to move ahead anyway was a grant program, recently announced by NYS Senator Rob Ortt.
Funds are earmarked solely for attractions within a one mile radius of the Seneca Niagara Casino, which DiCienzo’s water park would be across the street from.
"We put our application in for that, and I understand we may be heard in a months’ time,” DiCienzo said.
DiCienzo, whose family also owns the nearby Days Inn, and six successful hotels in Niagara falls Ontario (including with a water park) also has plans to add six floors to his Sheraton on Thirds Street.
But for now his focus will be the water park—which he says once built--- will attract enough visitors, to create an additional 50,000 room night stays per year in the Falls.
“With that huge influx of stays, particularly in the off season, that would help a lot of the other new hotels that have recently opened in Niagara Falls as well,” DiCienzo said.