Niagara Falls Strategic Economic Development Fund

A view of Pine Avenue, one of the targeted investment areas of the Niagara Falls Strategic Economic Development Fund.

About Niagara Falls Strategic Economic Development Fund

The next step for Niagara Falls is to leverage these investments in the waterfront, downtown and Main Street and better connect them to nearby neighborhoods through a Niagara Falls Strategic Economic Development Fund. The Fund is part of New York State’s Buffalo Billion investment plan which focuses on ensuring that all Western New Yorkers have an improved quality of life, and includes programs targeted at revitalization in some of the region’s most underserved neighborhoods.

The Fund is dedicated to the revitalization of Niagara Falls through transformational capital investments in targeted areas along Niagara Street, Main Street, Portage Road, and Pine Avenue that enhance neighborhoods that connect to the waterfront to retain and attract residents, promote mixed-use, walkable commercial corridors, support and grow new businesses and entrepreneurship, take advantage of the waterfront and attract tourists from downtown into adjoining neighborhoods. Through the establishment of goals, an analysis of economic and land use data, a look at past investments, and in-depth stakeholder engagement, Empire State Development (ESD) and subsidiary USA Niagara (USAN) in partnership with the City of Niagara Falls and University at Buffalo Regional Institute (UBRI), are developing a portfolio of catalytic projects aimed at improving economic conditions in the City of Niagara Falls. 

Program Status

April 2021 - Stakeholders in the project target area were invited to a virtual information session to learn about project origins, goals, outcomes, and process. Participants were also introduced to the process for submitting project idea submissions digitally or on paper. To view a video recording of the Stakeholder Information Meeting, click here, and to view the meeting presentation slides, click here. To access a digital version of the project submission form, click here.

May 2021 - Project submission deadline extended to Friday, May 28.

Reconnecting Neighborhoods to the Waterfront and Downtown

Since 2011, New York State has invested $315-plus million in the City of Niagara Falls in a concerted effort to realize and expand the economic benefits of its approximate nine million annual visitors. Investments have included upgrades to Niagara Falls State Park, revitalization efforts in downtown including eight new hotels and the restoration of Old Falls Street, and the strategic acquisition of a number of key underutilized properties for new mixed-use development. The transformational removal of the Robert Moses Parkway created a 140-acre unbroken, fully accessible ribbon of green space to maximize uses along the city’s 10-mile waterfront on the Upper Niagara River and Niagara Gorge and reconnect the City to the waterfront. North Main Street, named a NYS Downtown Revitalization Initiative winner, is leveraging the removal of the Parkway and investments in the Underground Railroad Heritage Center and Niagara Falls Train Station to recreate a strong business district reconnected to the Niagara Gorge.