Niagara Falls Strategic Economic Development Initiative

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

About Niagara Falls Strategic Economic Development Initiative

The Niagara Falls Strategic Economic Development Initiative is a $40 million plan to spur targeted investment throughout city business districts along Niagara Street, Main Street, Portage Road, and Pine Avenue. 

The initiative’s investment and implementation strategy was developed throughout 2021.  It is based on data and analysis aimed at identifying a targeted investment approach.  Ideas were solicited from stakeholders, and input from several dozen listening sessions held to assess priorities and cultivate priority projects.  

Projects

Additional details on the components of the initiative and anticipated breakdown of RRP funding:

  • Grow the Niagara Falls Agritourism Sector Through Innovation & Entrepreneurship - $19 million. The program will foster a long-term pipeline for food entrepreneurship in Niagara Falls that capitalizes on the rich food culture of the city, regional agricultural strengths, and food-based tourism/hospitality opportunities and trends. Funding will support a food-based ecosystem strategic action plan along with capital needs, organizational supports and programmatic interventions associated with the plan. Revitalization of the City Market area along Pine Avenue will serve as a key anchor of this effort.
  • Waterfront, Heritage Tourism and Community Anchors - $15 million. Investment in waterfront and heritage tourism projects will reinforce and strengthen important corridors connecting to the waterfront, upgrade community anchors, and/or enhance the current or future built environment.
  • Small Business & Placemaking - $5 million. The initiative will establish a Niagara Falls Small Business Property Improvement Program to provide funding for renovations to commercial and mixed-use buildings along the investment corridors. In coordination with the City of Niagara Falls, funding will also be dedicated to selected streetscape and infrastructure improvements along the investment corridors.
  • Intermediary & Community Based Organizational Support - $1 million. The funding will help build the capacity of local government and not-for-profit organizations to help implement components of the initiative and undertake follow-on activities once these projects are completed. Such project leadership and coordination would help maintain the momentum of revitalization moving forward.
Program Status

July 2022 – Representatives from ESD, the City of Niagara Falls and UBRI presented, via Zoom, program components and next steps for the Niagara Falls Strategic Economic Development Initiative.  A detailed booklet on the initiative and projects/programs was also released and can be found here

June 2022 - Governor Hochul announced the Regional Revitalization Partnership, a major initiative to support implementation of community-driven economic development plans in Niagara Falls, Rochester, and Buffalo. This program will be a significant catalyst to advance the Niagara Falls Strategic Economic Development Fund.

October 2021 - Representatives from ESD, the City of Niagara Falls and UBRI presented, via Zoom, an update on what they heard from the community over the past few months as well as how the feedback is shaping an investment portfolio for Niagara Falls. 

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. 

A Community-Guided Process to Reinvigorate Niagara Falls

The initiative is driven by five interconnected goals that aim to generate economic opportunity for targeted commercial corridors outside the downtown core: promote vibrant mixed-use, walkable commercial corridors; leverage investments in the waterfront and city anchors—Downtown and Main Street—by better connecting them to nearby neighborhoods; support and grow new businesses and entrepreneurship; enhance neighborhoods with connections to the waterfront to retain and attract new residents; and attract tourists from downtown into adjoining neighborhoods.