Niagara Falls Could Become Home to World Weather Center

Niagara Falls New YorkThis week, travelers from across the globe are braving the cold to see a partially-frozen Niagara Falls draped in an ethereal layer of ice and snow. The popular tourist destination is well-known for its extreme displays of natural beauty, which could make it an ideal setting for a different type of attraction in the former One Niagara Building.

Earlier this week at a meeting of the Niagara River Greenway Commission, former Niagara County Industrial Development Agency director John Simon pitched a plan to build a World Weather Center in the distinctive cube-shaped building which would offer guests an opportunity to enjoy a variety of “multi-sensory weather-related exhibits and experiences.”

Simon and his fellow organizers proposed the same idea to the Niagara Falls City Council in 2017, where they described a “Disney-quality” attraction that includes entertaining, educational exhibits focused on weather and climate science. In a recent interview with the Niagara Gazette, Simon remarked that “it’s safe to say there’s nothing like it in North America.”

The World Weather Center project would reportedly cost roughly $138 million to complete, but its organizers argue that it would also create jobs and generate several million dollars in tourism revenue in just a few years. The next step, according to Simon, will be to meet with the Empire State Development Corp. and seek state funding to help finance the project.

If the weather center becomes a reality, we could have yet another world-class travel destination to enjoy just a few miles down the road from our cozy community at Town Hall Terrace.

Buffalo Botanical Gardens Receives $1.5 Million for Expansion

ConservatoryLast year in November, officials from the historic Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens announced plans for an ambitious expansion project that calls for the addition of a 36,000-square-foot facility on the southwestern side of the existing conservatory. The expansion, which is valued at an estimated $14 million, will add a number of new amenities including classrooms, a butterfly exhibit, events space and a café.

Now, fundraising efforts for the expansion have taken a major step forward thanks to the contribution of a $1.5 million grant from the Western New York Regional Economic Council.

“We are extremely excited about this,” said Botanical Gardens CEO David Swarts in an interview. “This support indicates that the state clearly believes our project has merit.”

When the botanical gardens conservatory was first completed in 1899, it was one of the largest public greenhouses in the nation. Today, it remains one of the most popular weekend destinations in Western New York. Attendance at the botanical gardens has grown significantly in recent years, but the conservatory has not undergone a major expansion since it was built more than a century ago. According to botanical gardens officials, the new addition will allow the conservatory to accommodate more events like weddings and educational classes.

If you’ve never had an opportunity to visit the Buffalo & Erie County Botanical Gardens in the past, consider spending an afternoon in the conservatory one day soon! Located in the Frederick Law Olmsted-designed South Park, the Botanical Gardens is one of the most beloved historical sites in our area.

New York Recognizes Grand Island as a Clean Energy Community

residential solar panelsSince the old Schoelkopf Power Station began harnessing hydroelectric power from the Niagara River way back in 1881, Western New York has earned a reputation for being a regional hub of innovation in the energy sector. More recently, the communities in our area have begun to embrace modern advances in solar power generation as well.

Last year, for example, the Grand Island Town Board unanimously approved plans to build a $7 million solar power plant on an 18-acre plot of land that’s capable of providing electricity for about 400 homes and businesses across the island. Meanwhile, the Solarize Grand Island program is helping to offset installation costs for home and business owners who want to bring solar power to their properties, too.

Thanks to initiatives like these, the Town of Grand Island was recently designated a Clean Energy Community by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

To earn this designation, the Town of Grand Island had to complete at least four of the 10 high-impact clean energy actions listed by NSERDA as part of the Clean Energy Communities initiative. Under the terms of the Clean Energy Communities program, Grand Island is now eligible to apply for funding “of up to $250,000 with no local cost share and the option of receiving up to 25 percent paid in advance to support additional clean energy projects.”

“Solar power is a cost-effective way to preserve our environment and power our community,” said Town Supervisor Nathan McMurray in a statement. “I’m proud to be part of a community that takes this form of energy seriously. Grand Island was one of the first communities in our area to pass a solar law. This summer we had a successful Solarize Grand Island campaign that educated the public about the benefits of renewable energy and resulted in 24 new residential solar installations.”

As a designated Clean Energy Community, Grand Island will now have even more opportunities to improve its renewable energy infrastructure in the future. To learn more about all the things that make Grand Island such a great place to live, feel free to give Town Hall Terrace a call at (716) 773-2788 today!

Celebrate the 7th Annual Light up the Boulevard Fest This Weekend

Christmas Lights in ParkYou might feel like you’re still digesting the last of your Thanksgiving Dinner, but the holiday season festivities are only just beginning! This weekend, you can kick off a month of celebrations at the 7th annual Light up the Boulevard Electric Parade and Festival on Grand Island.

The festivities will begin this Saturday, December 1 at 12:00 pm.

Santa will be greeting children at Town Hall from 2:00 – 4:30 pm, and again from 6:30 – 8:00 pm. Meanwhile, visitors can enjoy watching Holiday movies in the courtroom while they wait to meet Santa. Other festival activities include story time at the Grand Island Library, cookie decorating at Mamma De’s and more.

Following the Rudolf Run at 5:00 pm, attendees can enjoy the event’s main attraction—the Electric Parade and tree lighting ceremony in the town commons! This year, the event’s organizers will be providing a heated tent to keep everyone comfortable in the event of snow and cold weather. Once the parade is over, guests can stick around and continue to enjoy holiday-themed games, food trucks, Arctic golf and other activities in the town commons.

Light up the Boulevard offers a great opportunity for the folks in our area to get in the holiday spirit. This family-friendly event is especially fun for children, so be sure to bring the kids and grandkids along for the ride as well!

Interested in learning more about all there is to see and do on Grand Island? Stay tuned for the latest updates from our blog at Town Hall Terrace!

Grand Island Town Board Pursuing Tree City USA Designation

Planting a TreeOne of the things we love about Grand Island is that it’s home to many acres of pristine forested land. Trees are an important part of our community’s identity, and now town board is considering the adoption a new law that could earn Grand Island a spot in the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree City USA program.

Tree City USA, which includes more than 3,400 towns and cities throughout the nation, was established in 1976 to help communities maintain and expand their trees.

Under the terms of the proposed ordinance, property owners who purchase forested parcels of land that are larger than 1.5 acres would be required to apply for a permit from the town before cutting down trees. Such an ordinance is a prerequisite for obtaining a Tree City USA designation for Grand Island. The ordinance would also establish a local subcommittee on trees.

Proponents of the tree ordinance argue that it would be minimally disruptive to local citizens and developers, but potentially very beneficial to the health of Grand Island’s trees in the long run. This is because a Tree City USA designation would allow the town to apply for grant money to help with its dead and dying ash trees. In recent years, the invasive Emerald Ash Borer has taken a serious toll on our area’s ash trees.

“We see this as a kind of step one of getting to be a Tree City USA,” said Jeff Green, chairman of the Conservation Advisory Board during a recent meeting of the town board.

Thanks to the efforts of Green and others on the Conservation Advisory Board, Grand Island could soon have access to the resources it needs to protect its trees for the future.

The West River Road Shoreline Trail is Officially Open

Bike PathFollowing a lengthy and sometimes contentious development process, the 8-mile West River Shoreline Trail welcomed cyclists and pedestrians for the first time during its opening ceremony on Tuesday. The new multi-use trail connects Buckhorn Island State Park to Beaver Island State Park, and is part of larger trail system that stretches all the way from Lackawanna to Lewiston. The trail also offers year-round access to the Niagara River.


Local residents who attended the opening ceremony expressed excitement about having a new, safe place to explore the Grand Island riverfront.

“It’s so nice not to have to keep turning around looking for cars,” said cyclist Diane Goupil of Grand Island in an interview with WBFO. “So, now they have the bike path and we can ride on a road specifically for bikes and walking, it’s really nice.”

After five years of development, attendees at the ceremony were eager to get out and enjoy the trail, even on a chilly day in October. Next year, Grand Island residents will have yet another new outdoor destination to enjoy when the Margery Gallogly Nature Sanctuary opens in the fall.

At Town Hall Terrace, we also offer a variety of amenities for residents who want to maintain active, healthy lifestyles. From our fully-equipped fitness center to our tennis courts and heated pool, you can choose from a diverse selection of activities to enjoy. To learn more about these or any of the other amenities you can find at Town Hall Terrace, feel free to give us a call at (716) 773-2788 today!

Travel and Leisure Names Buffalo “America’s Friendliest City”

Buffalo City HallIf you’ve spent much time in Western New York, you may already know that our region is well-known for the warm, friendly demeanor of its citizens. In our community, it’s not uncommon to see people helping their neighbors shovel snow from the latest blizzard or lending a hand with their gardens in the summertime. Buffalo has long been known as the City of Good Neighbors, but it recently earned another unique distinction from the popular Travel and Leisure Magazine.

Based on the results of its annual America’s Favorite Places survey, Travel and Leisure has named Buffalo America’s Friendliest City.

“People smile at each other on the streets,” said one Buffalo resident who responded to the survey. “We talk to strangers all the time and are just overall willing to help each other.”

Even Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas weighed in on the results of the survey in a recent interview.

“I’ve been here since 1988 and it is one of the friendliest cities in America,” said Thomas. “One of the reasons that I love it so much here is that we do so much for charity.”

To celebrate Buffalo’s recognition as the nation’s friendliest city, Thomas teamed up with Cheerios this morning to serve a free breakfast to fans at Fountain Plaza. The city is also commemorating the occasion by making parking meters free for the day and lighting the Peace Bridge yellow in the evening.

Interested in joining the famously friendly community of Western New York? We’d love to have you join us here at Town Hall Terrace! Browse our homes online or give us a call today to learn more!

Margery Gallogly Nature Sanctuary to Open Next Fall

Hiking TrailIt’s official: after more than a year of fundraising efforts, the Western New York Land Conservancy has agreed to purchase a 145-acre parcel of undeveloped land from the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo for $269,000. Located adjacent to the Assumption Cemetery on Grand Island, this land will soon become a sprawling nature preserve where people can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, cross-country skiing and birdwatching. The preserve will also offer public access to both the Big and Little Six Mile Creeks.

Now that the deal has been finalized, the Land Conservancy is in the process of planning where the hiking trails will be built in the spring of 2019. According to the conservancy’s executive director Jajuan Rose-Burney, their first priority will be to minimize the project’s impact on the local ecosystem.

“Let’s make sure we’re not hurting any of the ecology, but let’s also make sure people can really experience some of the things that make the preserve really interesting,” said Rose-Burney in a recent interview.

Meanwhile, Town Supervisor Nate McMurray is excited about the impact the new nature preserve will have on the community of Grand Island.

“You really are starting to see a new vision of what Grand Island is, which is in many ways a green haven between Buffalo and Niagara Falls,” said McMurray.

The Margery Gallogly Nature Sanctuary is expected to be open by fall of 2019, but additional work will continue on the project over the course of the next two years. Here at Town Hall Terrace, we can’t wait to get outside and taking a relaxing hike in the pristine forest of this beautiful woodland retreat.

Grand Island’s New Welcome Center Is Open for Business

Welcome to New YorkAfter months of planning and construction, Grand Island is now home to a beautiful Western New York Welcome Center designed in the iconic Prairie style of Frank Lloyd Wright. The new $25-million welcome center, which opened on Monday of this week, can be found just off the Whitehaven Road exit on Route 190.

In addition to the usual lineup of restrooms and dog-walking areas, the Western New York Welcome Center features a number of other more unusual amenities as well. These include a local museum, electric vehicle charging stations, a playground and a snack bar with foods from local farmers and artisans. This way, travelers will not only have an opportunity to relax and stretch their legs, but also get a sneak preview of everything our region has in store for them. Furthermore, the welcome center will give nearby farmers an ideal place to showcase their goods.

According to Diane Held of the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Erie County, the welcome center will periodically rotate snack bar products from different farms and vendors to give everyone as much exposure as possible. There’s even an area designated for farmers’ markets located in a second structure behind the welcome center.

If you missed the soft open on Monday, the welcome center’s developers reportedly plan on hosting a grand opening celebration in the near future. To learn more about everything that’s happening on Grand Island, stay tuned for the latest updates from our blog at Town Hall Terrace!

Grand Island Releases Comprehensive Plan for Future Development

Grand Island BridgeThe future is looking bright here on Grand Island. Earlier this week, local officials released a sweeping 115-page document that outlines the strategies, goals and principles that will shape the next 20 years of growth and development in the Town of Grand Island. This new comprehensive plan is the successor to a 1995 report which was last revised in 1998.

The 2018 Comprehensive Plan is the culmination of thousands of hours of work from volunteers throughout the community. According to its introduction, the purpose of the new plan is to “address the future land use of the Town of Grand Island and to refit many of the previous planning elements to meet today’s needs and challenges.”

The new plan places a strong emphasis on improving access to walkable trails and flexible transportation options on Grand Island. It’s also designed to tackle the civic planning challenges associated with Grand Island’s unique history; whereas most towns begin at a central point and grow outward, the community of Grand Island was born on its shorelines and spread inward.

“What we heard over and over again is that people want walkability, they want accessibility and they want to control sprawl,” said Town Supervisor Nate McMurray in a statement.

The town is already putting its plans to improve walkability into action, thanks to a $1.3 million grant which will go toward building sidewalks on both sides of Grand Island Boulevard from Webb Road to Fantasy Island. These sidewalks will receive new trees and streetlights, and the town plans to apply for additional funding to extend the sidewalks south to Baseline Road as well.

If you’d like to check out the 2018 Comprehensive Plan for yourself, you can view the entire document here!