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New staircase connects Buffalo Ave to Niagara Falls State Park

A metal staircase is coming down a steep hill, with a light to the right and leafy trees framing the photo.
Emyle Watkins
The new staircase that connects Buffalo Ave from the intersection of Third Street to Niagara Falls State Park.

Niagara Falls is getting a refresh this spring – just in time for everyone who fell in love with parks during the pandemic to get out of the house. A new entryway now links Buffalo Ave to Niagara Falls State Park, and steep hill no longer poses a boundary for those who can traverse stairs. 

Buffalo Ave is quiet, quaint almost, but lined with hotels and apartments. Many people will use this street in the summer. At the intersection of Third Street, there is now a short path going through a lightly wooded area to a set of metal stairs that go down a 28-foot grade change.

Many see improvements like this one as vital to economic development. USA Niagara Development Corporation President Anthony Vilardo shared how small upgrades can make a big impact:

“It's not hard to see the economic benefits that are already starting to take shape with the parkways removal: new hotels have been built, apartments and storefronts have been renovated because the development community has seen the opportunity that's been afforded to it by our work in reconnecting the city to its waterfront.”

Two men (NYS Parks Western District Director Mark Mistretta (front) and City of Niagara Falls Mayor Anthony Restaino (behind Mistretta)) walk up a metal staircase. The photo is framed between two trees.
Credit Emyle Watkins / WBFO News
NYS Parks Western District Director Mark Mistretta (front) and City of Niagara Falls Mayor Anthony Restaino (behind Mistretta) walk up the new staircase that connects Niagara Falls State Park to the City of Niagara Falls.


Andrea Czopp from Destination Niagara explained that she anticipates this will be a busy summer for the area, and the new staircase will help with foot traffic.

"Buffalo Avenue may seem like a quiet street, but it's actually heavily foot traffic by a lot of the hotels that are really close by and so to have another way for those those guests to get in and out of the park is really great.”

She also added that as a resident, she’s excited about her changing city.

“I was born and raised here in Niagara Falls and in the 40 years of my lifetime, this is by far the most progress that I have ever seen here in this community. So thank you," Czopp added.

Assemblyman Angelo J. Morinello also shared that this is a great opportunity for residents as well. 

“What I would like to tell the locals is take the blinders off, get up and take a walk, take a walk on riverway, take a walk in the park, take a walk on the accesses. If you go through Deveaux, those streets are going to be connected back to the gorge. Historically, we live in one of the greatest and most beautiful areas in the world," said Morinello.

NYS Parks Western District Director Mark Mistretta is walking down a long, steep metal staircase in a wooded area in the summer time.
Credit Emyle Watkins / WBFO
NYS Parks Western District Director Mark Mistretta walks down the new staircase connecting Niagara Falls to Niagara Falls State Park.

Emyle Watkins is an investigative journalist covering disability for WBFO.