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Maid of the Mist construction resumes with much opposition

Ashley Hassett

The Maid of the Mist tour boats have been working out of the American side of Niagara Falls for 167 years. Development has just resumed on the operation’s new maintenance dock, after delays caused by local opposition.

“About 2.5 million people come here every year on both sides of the border and when you’re on the Maid of the Mist you really get a sense for the world destination that it is, because you see people from around the world and people really love that experience,” said Maid of the Mist spokesman Kevin Keenan.

A temporary restraining order was lifted at the beginning of April by the state Supreme Court on the $32 million, self funded construction project. Keenan said crews are back to work beautifying the park space at the top of the Niagara gorge and building a maintenance facility for the Maid of the Mist boat’s on the site of the former Schoellkopf Power Station.

“There’s a crane that will be used at the dry dock facility to lift the boats out of the water and that crane right now is under construction in Germany, so there’s a lot going on here,” said Keenan.

Keenan said the project also includes preparations for a potential rock climbing attraction in the gorge.

Credit Ashley Hassett / WBFO
Construction on the Maid of the Mist dry dock

However, Attorney for the Niagara Preservation Coalition Linda Shaw said her clients still disagree with the plans. She said project managers have been unclear about what the redevelopment will look like, once completed.

“Pieces of the cliff are being chopped off. Our own experts said it was dangerous to have that the crane that is being put on that area without something like pile supported platforms, but that wasn’t disclosed. So, there are things happening that were not disclosed and were really worried that this is just the beginning and there are going to be a lot more things that happen that will never be able to bring it back,” said Shaw.

Shaw said there will most likely be an appeal on the Supreme Court ruling. Construction will continue on the dry dock and is expected to be finished by December 2013.

The operation is run by the Maid of the Mist Corporation of Niagara Falls, New York, which has been owned by the Glynn family of Lewiston, New York since 1971, and was incorporated in 1892.

Video of Maid of the Mist Construction