215 Park Avenue South, 1901
New York, NY 10003
212 962 6307

Niagara Falls Heritage Gateways

Niagara Falls, NY

Program

Public Space, Landscape Features, Historic Markers

Client

USA Niagara
Empire State Development
Niagara Falls State Park
City of Niagara Falls

Collaborators

Landscape: Hargreaves Jones
Civil / Environmental: EDR
Architect of Record: Watts
Structural: Thornton Tomasetti
Foundation Design: Geotech
Survey: GdB Geospatial
Environmental: Day Environmental
Water Feature: Delta Fountains
Electrical: Popli Design Group
Lighting: Fisher Marantz Stone
Graphics: Montague Projects
Cost Estimating: Trophy Point Construction, Services & Consulting
Engagement: Highland Planning

Size

3.3 acre park
1,500 sf Pavilion
115’ Long Tree Walk

Status

Ongoing

Following PAU’s work on the Downtown Niagara Falls Development Strategy, USA Niagara selected PAU through a competitive RFP process to design the first targeted, state-funded investments that our initial plan recommended. As part of the Downtown Development Strategy’s framework’s short-term solutions to activate this region, PAU incorporated a Heritage Path, which will highlight key physical landmarks throughout the city that help visitors and locals rediscover the extraordinary history of the community. The checkpoints along the Heritage Path will double as outdoor space for programs that provide more opportunities for year-round activities. Not only will the Heritage Path connect historical landmarks with the state park, but it will allow visitors to navigate Downtown Niagara Falls in a 30-minute loop. The Heritage Path will remain as the long-term projects are phased in which may include new community, residential, hotel, retail, and office uses. By honoring the region’s land and staying true to the area’s rich history, the strategy leverages what’s best about Niagara, bringing it to life through unique design solutions that tap into the city’s heritage. In creating an activated downtown, Niagara hopes to reverse rustbelt demographic trends, retaining its existing population while attracting new residents through programming that highlights the city’s beautiful landscape and its history. Downtown Niagara Falls has the chance to be a leader among its peers, defining the future of the small, post-industrial American City.

The first design for the Heritage Gateways will incorporate new park space for the city. A vacant lot will be transformed into a new public space that highlights Niagara Falls’ industrial past, making visible the path of the long-buried hydraulic canal that used to power mills and refineries that were the beating heart of the city’s 19th and 20th century economies; with a new platform for public performances anchoring its most visible corner to frame the gateway into the downtown. The Niagara Gorge Gateways Park will be a public green space complete with woodland gardens, stormwater meadow, promenade, terraces, with an open lawn and multi-use pavilion. The elliptical 1,500sf Gorge Gateway Pavilion was designed to reflect the unique character of the site, with a forest of thin steel columns supporting a geometric canopy. A raised wooden platform below creates a flexible area that will accommodate multiple uses through both day and night, providing a place of gathering throughout the whole year. Across Main Street, the Hydraulic Power Plaza features a play area, an interactive water feature, a seasonal ice rink, and a Power Promenade design invoking the history of hydraulic power generated at the site.

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