The Welcome Plaza Project at Niagara Falls State Park Prospect Point's entrance is on schedule to be completed by next summer.
There was originally some speculation it could have been delayed when toxic materials were found in the soil a few months ago, but park officials said all known contaminated materials have been safely removed and construction will continue as planned.
The project caps a $70 million transformation that started back in 2012. Cave of Winds, Terrapin Point, Luna Island, Stedman’s Bluff, Park Police Station, and Three Sisters Islands are areas being upgraded.
New York State Parks Spokesperson Randy Simons said it’s important to update the park to maintain Olmsted’s vision.
“We are giving them a pathway to enjoy every aspect at the park but also, protecting and preserving much of the park that now can be viewed and enjoyed from an appropriate position in the park like a pathway or an overlook,” said Simons.
New York State parks generate $5 billion in park and visitor spending across the state and support nearly 54,000 jobs. Simons said the new entrance is an important addition to Niagara Falls as visitation continues to increase every year.
“It is our most visited park by a wide number," Simons. "The next largest park is on Long Island. Like a Jones Beach, Robert Moses, which welcome about 4 million people a year. Far and wide, Niagara Falls is not only the oldest state park in the nation, it’s our most heavily visited and just a true gem.”
The completion of this project will be the last of the “big ticket” changes coming to the park in the near future according to Simons.
“But there’s always going to be those maintenance projects or a little touch up here and there,” said Simons. “Nothing immediately on the horizon other than those smaller projects. We’re just happy that we’ve really touched nearly every footprint of this park to protect and preserve, but also provide access to everyone that wants to come out.”