Work begins on $46m Niagara Falls State Park Welcome Center
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Work begins on $46m Niagara Falls State Park Welcome Center

18 Oct 2021 (Last Updated October 18th, 2021 12:43)

The new 28,000ft² facility, due to open in 2023, will comprise new ticketing and information desks, among others.

Work begins on $46m Niagara Falls State Park Welcome Center
Illustration of the New Niagara Falls Welcome Center. Credit: GWWO, Inc.

Ground has been broken on the visitor centre in Niagara Falls State Park in New York, US, which will serve as a gateway to adventure along the Niagara River Corridor.

Planned to launch in early 2023, the new 28,000ft² facility will offer a better connection for pedestrians between the Falls and the city’s downtown business district.

The $46m facility is expected to increase the length of visits within the park while improving the visitor experience.

A 35-year-old original visitor centre will be demolished to build the new facility.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul said: “Niagara Falls is a wonder of the world unique to Western New York and its awe-inspiring beauty has been preserved with Niagara Falls State Park, the oldest state park in the United States.

“This new Welcome Center builds on our work to showcase all of the landmark gems that New York State has to offer, attracting visitors from around the world and boosting our tourism economy.”

The new facility will comprise new ticketing and information desks, new concession spaces, interpretive museum space, restrooms and associated support spaces.

It will incorporate green roof elements, a rooftop solar array and a separate restroom building.

Additional amenities include plantings, new accessible paths, outdoor exhibits and interpretive and wayfinding elements.

RP Oakhill is serving as the contractor for the project while GWWO is the architect. Haley Sharpe Design is responsible for designing the interior interpretive exhibits.

The project is backed by an $8m contribution from the not-for-profit Ralph C Wilson, Jr Foundation.

Ralph C Wilson, Jr Foundation president and CEO David O Egner said: “The incredible level of detail and thoughtfulness put into the reimagined Welcome Center will contribute greatly towards enhancing and boosting Niagara’s tourism and outdoor recreation economy.”

The project is expected to complement the Niagara Falls State Park landscape revitalisation plan, which was launched in 2011 to renovate the park’s major viewing areas.

Established in 1885, Niagara Falls State Park sees more than nine million visitors every year.