New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the design for the state-of-the-art visitor centre in Niagara Falls State Park on April 23.
Cuomo’s team said the visitor centre will improve the visitor experience, complementing nature and increasing the duration of visits to Niagara Falls State Park.
Cuomo also said the Ralph C Wilson Jr Foundation has committed $8m in grant funding towards the construction of the facility, which is set to start in autumn 2021.
“New York is home to some of the nation’s greatest parks and outdoor recreational opportunities that attract visitors from all across the globe, and Niagara Falls State Park is no exception,” said Cuomo.
Construction scheduled for fall 2021
“This new visitor center continues the stunning transformation of New York’s most famous and most visited state park, welcoming the millions of tourists who visit each year while highlighting the unique history and beauty of the park and the entire Western New York community.”
The new facility, designed by GWWO, will replace an older building and will cover 28,000 square feet with areas for ticketing, interpretation, dining and retail.
It will also house museum space with an immersive experience and exhibits, as well as a rooftop solar array and green elements. It is scheduled to launch in 2023.
The project is part of Cuomo’s NY Parks 100 initiative, which Cuomo’s team said focuses on creating recreational space, relieving overcrowded parks, and welcoming new visitors.
Facility designs unveiled by GWWO
“The $8 million grant for this project also builds upon the foundation’s broader efforts to catalyze economic development in Western New York and improve access and connections to public spaces and trails throughout the region,” said Ralph C Wilson Jr.
“We look forward to the future welcome center being a world-class destination the residents of New York and the region can be proud of when it welcomes an estimated 9 million visitors annually from across the world.”
State Parks will issue a request for proposals (RFP) from potential partners interested in operating food, beverage, retail and recreational concessions at Niagara Falls State Park. Information on the RFP will be posted here when issued.
The project is in addition to the $150m revitalisation of the Niagara Falls State Park landscape, which includes new walkways and benches and enhanced landscaping.