Niagara Falls Aquarium Opens Its New Penguin Habitat

Humboldt PenguinHave you had a chance to visit the Aquarium of Niagara recently? If not, now might be a great time to check it out! This week, the aquarium is opening its new Humboldt penguin habitat which is more than five times the size of its former exhibit. This $3.5 million upgrade is the largest project ever completed at the aquarium, according to WIVB.

The new exhibit features a 15,000 gallon pool and a rocky landscape that closely mimics the penguins’ natural habitat. It also has an interactive microphone system that allows guests to engage in live question-and-answer sessions with the aquarists working in the exhibit.

The habitat currently houses a colony of seven Humboldt penguins, but the aquarium plans to use the additional space to begin breeding more penguins by the end of the year. Ultimately, they hope to have a colony of about 20 penguins.

The Humboldt penguin habitat isn’t the only exciting new addition coming to the aquarium in 2018.

In May, work is slated to begin on a $440,000 jellyfish exhibit as well. Once complete, it will be the first permanent jellyfish exhibit in the aquarium’s 53-year history. The exhibit will reportedly house up to 70 jellyfish in illuminated cylindrical tanks, offering guests the opportunity to get an up-close look at the ethereal invertebrates.

“We’re trying really hard to embrace change, to embrace innovative opportunities to bring in new animals to the collection,” said the aquarium’s Executive Director Gary Siddall in an interview with WBFO. “It’s very consistent with the forward-moving direction that we’ve been able to celebrate over the course of the last few years.”

Next time you’re in Niagara Falls, be sure to stop in and see everything the aquarium has to offer!

Take a Family Trip to the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum

Vintage Carousel HorseIn 1915, Allan Herschell purchased a factory complex at 180 Thompson Street in North Tonawanda to support the growing needs of his budding wooden carousel business. Over the course of the next 55 years, Herschell’s company produce more than 3,000 hand-carved wooden carousels in the facility, establishing itself as one of the foremost manufacturers of carousels and other amusement park rides in the nation.

Today, the former factory is home to the Allan Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum.

Inside the museum, guests can visit the wood shop where Allan Herschell’s iconic carousels were brought to life. They can even take a ride on two of Herschell’s carousels that have been beautifully restored to their original condition. The oldest horses in the larger of the two carousels date back to the late 1890s.

But Herschell’s antique carousels aren’t the only attractions in the museum.

During your visit, you can also learn more about the many band organs that were produced in North Tonawanda by the Wurlitzer Company and its competitors. Get an up-close look at an antique Artizan “Style D” Band Organ, or check out the Wurlitzer Music Roll Department to watch early 20th century machinery produce paper music for historic band organs.

The Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum has a little something for everyone. Whether you’re a local history buff, or just looking for a fun and educational place to take the kids, this museum is a great destination to consider. Located just 15 minutes from the heart of Grand Island, it’s perfect for a quick weekend excursion.

To learn more about all there is to see and do in our area, stay tuned for future updates from our blog!

Town Board Votes to Ban Truck Stops on Grand Island

Truck StopEarlier this month, Love’s Travel Stop, a national chain of truck stops, revealed that it had plans to build a new location on Grand Island. The news came as a surprise to both residents and local officials, and the response to the proposed truck stop was overwhelmingly negative. Many people were not only concerned about the effect a truck stop could have on public health and property values, but also about its potential implications for the local ecosystem.

“If there were ever a fuel leak, we’re one of the largest freshwater islands and it would totally pollute all water up and downstream from us,” said Grand Island resident Andrea Mondich during a recent meeting of the Town Board. “A bunch of the island residents are trying to keep the island green and keep more open green space for future generations.”

Fortunately for Mondich and other residents with similar concerns, Grand Island officials acted swiftly to prevent the proposed truck stop from taking shape. Last week, the Town Board voted unanimously to ban truck stops from being built anywhere on the island with an amendment to the town’s zoning code.

This is just the latest example of Grand Island’s residents coming together to defend their community in a public forum. Thanks to this spirit of civic engagement, we can rest easy knowing the future of our town is in good hands. To learn more about what’s happening on Grand Island, stay tuned for the latest updates from our blog at Town Hall Terrace!

Grand Island: Future Home of Western New York’s Welcome Center

Grand Island BridgeThanks to a multi-million dollar investment from the state government, Grand Island will soon become the official gateway to Western New York. In addition to receiving a new cashless tolling system, Grand Island will also be home to the Western New York Welcome Center on Alvin Road adjacent to I-190.

This new welcome center will be much more than a quick rest stop. Instead, it will be designed to showcase “local attractions, foods, craft beverages and other destinations throughout the region,” according to Niagara Frontier Publications. Amenities at the welcome center will include a children’s play area, pet comfort area, community room and charging stations for electric cars.

The welcome center’s design will be heavily based on trademark “Prairie style” of style of Frank Lloyd Wright, whose work can be found throughout Western New York. Inside the structure, visitors will be able to enjoy an open floor plan that features a market and café with local products from Buffalo, Niagara Falls and the surrounding areas.

“It is going to be a virtual museum, as well as spotlight goods from local farmers,” said Grand Island Town Supervisor Nathan McMurray in a recent interview. “It will have artifacts from both Grand Island and Western New York history. “We are the host community for the welcome center for five counties.”

The welcome center planning team is even collaborating with a group of local historians to develop displays that will highlight some of the most notable historical landmarks in the area. There’s still plenty of work to be done, but the welcome center is slated for completion in August of 2018.

The West River Connector Trail Is Coming to Grand Island

The West River Connector Trail Is Coming to Grand IslandLooking for a new place to take an evening stroll or a weekend bike ride? Soon, residents of Western New York will be able to enjoy the sights and sounds of Grand Island’s West River thanks to an 8-mile scenic trail that will connect Buckhorn Island State park to Beaver Island State Park.

This spring, work is scheduled to begin on the West River Connector Trail—a $2.8 million project that will highlight some of the most beautiful waterfront property on Grand Island. Ultimately, this trail will become part of a larger trail system connecting Buffalo to Niagara Falls. The project will involve converting an existing state-owned seasonal road into a pedestrian trail that stretches along the West River.

“It’s part of this Buffalo-Western New York renaissance,” said Grand Island Supervisor Nate McMurray in an interview with WBFO. “And we have an asset that so many communities would die for. And to allow more people to have access to that, in ways that are for health and wellness, it’s something that’s incredible.”

In fact, the West River Connector trail is the latest in a series of outdoor destinations to come to our community. Last year, the Western New York Land Conservancy announced that it would establish a 140-acre nature preserve on a plot of undeveloped land on Grand Island as well. Once it’s open to the public, the Margery Gallogly Nature Sanctuary will offer opportunities for birdwatching, hiking, cross-country skiing and more.

Stay tuned for more updates from our blog, or give us a call at (716) 773-2788 to learn more about all there is to do around Town Hall Terrace!

Keep These Snow Removal Safety Tips in Mind This Season

Keep These Snow Removal Safety Tips in Mind This SeasonWe’re only a few weeks into winter, but we’ve already seen our fair share of snow here in Western New York. Shoveling snow is a pretty routine activity in our area, but it’s important to remember that strenuous shoveling can result in injuries if you’re not careful. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 158,000 people were treated in emergency rooms for shoveling-related injuries in the winter of 2015.

The good news is, the vast majority of these injuries are very preventable. By taking a few simple precautions, you can keep walkways clear without putting your health at risk.

Dress Appropriately.

Wear light, layered clothing with a waterproof outer layer, and try to avoid cotton garments. Protect your extremities with mittens, thick wool socks and a warm hat. If you feel yourself overheating, shed a layer or two and take a break until you feel comfortable again.

Don’t wait for the storm to end.

Instead of waiting to shovel a foot of snow all at once, it’s much safer and easier to shovel a few inches of snow at a time. When the snow starts to fall, go outside and do a little shoveling once every couple of hours so that you never have to clear too much snow at one time.

Push, rather than lift.

Using a shovel to push snow out of the way is less strenuous than using it to lift heavy loads of snow. If you must lift snow to get it out of your way, be sure to lift with your knees instead of your back. Back injuries are some of the most common injuries associated with manual snow removal.

Stay hydrated.

It can be easy to forget to drink enough water when you’re working in cold temperatures, but it’s important to stay hydrated when you shovel snow. Keep a bottle of water on hand, and take regular hydration breaks if you’re outside shoveling for more than a few minutes.

Experience the Festival of Lights in Hamburg This Weekend!

Experience the Festival of Lights in Hamburg This Weekend!Christmas is just around the corner, and that means it’s time to take in all the sights and sounds of the holiday season in snowy Western New York. This weekend, you can take part in the largest holiday festival in the region at the fairgrounds in nearby Hamburg.

The Fairgrounds Festival of Lights features a wide array of LED light displays designed by North Pole Productions. Other popular attractions include the Holiday Magic Show and the Winterland Workshop that lets kids create their own holiday-themed crafts.

This is the 13th year Hamburg has hosted the Festival of Lights, and it seems like it gets bigger and better each time. This year, the event will offer a number of brand new events and activities to check out, such as the Canstruction® Competition & Display. In this event, local companies will compete to build structures out of nothing but canned goods. At the end of the competition, all the canned goods will be donated to the Food Bank of Western New York.

Be sure to keep an eye out for Santa! He and Mrs. Claus will be greeting guests throughout the festival. You can even participate in the North Pole Experience and get whisked away to Santa’s workshop and elf village.

The Festival of Lights is a fun event for the whole family. This year, gates are open 5:00pm – 9:00pm every day from December 15 to 23. Admission costs $25 per carload and gets you access to all the activities the festival has to offer. For more information, check out the event’s website here!

Grand Island Bridge Tolls are Getting a High-Tech Upgrade

Grand Island Bridge Tolls are Getting a High-Tech Upgrade

If you’ve traveled over the Grand Island Bridges recently, you may have noticed construction crews doing work on the aging toll barriers that serve as gateways to the rest of the NYS Thruway. This constitutes the first step in an upgrade process that promises to make the trip across Grand Island much faster and easier.

Soon, the bridges will feature a new cashless tolling system that’s expected to save drivers an average of 200 minutes per year in travel time. It will also reduce traffic congestion, improve traffic safety and promote growth in the region by eliminating the unnecessary obstacles created by the current tolling system. According to estimates from New York State, roughly 65,000 vehicles pass through the Grand Island Toll Barriers each day.

“The transition to cashless tolling on Grand Island will eliminate a major commuter bottleneck, grow the local tourism industry, and reduce vehicle emissions in accordance with our environmental goals,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul in a statement.

In conjunction with the toll system upgrades, Grand Island Supervisor Nate McMurray also wants to conduct a review of the money being generated from the toll to ensure it’s being spent wisely on local infrastructure improvements and bridge maintenance. The new cashless tolling system is expected to be fully operational by March 2018.

Stay tuned for more updates about all the latest happenings on and around Grand Island from Town Hall Terrace. Interested in learning more about our community? Give us a call today to speak with a representative!

Grand Island Will Soon Be Home to a 140-Acre Nature Preserve

Grand Island Will Soon Be Home to a 140-Acre Nature PreserveLooking for a serene place to get away from it all and reconnect with the natural world? Here on Grand Island, a huge plot of undeveloped land owned by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo is about to become a great destination for nature lovers throughout Western New York.

Even though the 140-acre plot was never officially on the market, the Western New York Land Conservancy recently stepped in and revealed that they are working hard to establish the land as a protected nature preserve. According to Buffalo Business First, the organization is using a $568,000 grant from the Niagara River Greenway Ecological Standing Committee as well as a $200,000 donation from the Gallogly Family Foundation of Houston, Texas to secure the land. Once the deal is finalized, the land will be called the Margery Gallogly Nature Sanctuary.

The new nature preserve will be a beautiful addition to the local community of Grand Island. It will provide a public space for people to enjoy outdoor activities like birdwatching, hiking, cross-country skiing and more. It will also safeguard the plant and animal species that call the land home. Perhaps most importantly, it will offer additional protection for the Great Lakes Basin, which contains more than 80 percent of the surface freshwater in North America.

Interested in learning more about all the things there are to see and do on Grand Island? Stay tuned for more updates from our blog, or give us a call today at (716) 773-2788 to speak with a representative!

Grand Island-Tonawanda Ferry Reopens After 80 Years

Grand Island-Tonawanda Ferry Reopens After 80 YearsWe have some exciting news for long-time residents of Grand Island: The Queen of Peace ferryboat has reopened, and is once again shuttling passengers between Tonawanda and Grand Island after an 8-decade hiatus.

According to The Buffalo News, the ferry’s legacy is being carried on by Matthew Scanlon Hamp and his brother, Fred Hamp, whose great-grandfather, Matthew Scanlon, captained a tugboat ferry service along the very same route. The elder Scanlon shepherded people, produce and whatever else needed carrying from Tonawanda to Grand Island and back again as early as the 1880s and 1890s.

Service on this particular line concluded in 1935, when the Grand Island bridges were built. Now, instead of being the primary mode of transport across the Niagara River, the ferry’s operators hope to attract hikers and cyclists who are looking for new routes to explore.

The ferry will run on Sundays through September 10th, and cost $15 per round-trip. It can handle about 45 passengers (and some of their bikes) at a time, and tickets will need to be purchased in advance.

Rick Davis, mayor of Tonawanda, is optimistic that the ferry will bring additional tourist traffic to the city. On either end of the ferry service, tourists and locals will find shops, restaurants and historical sites celebrating the area’s past.

If you’re new to the area, come visit us at Town Hall Terrace! Our apartments and townhomes offer top of the line amenities, spacious floor plans, and a relaxed country club environment, with 33 acres of beautifully-maintained landscape nestled in the heart of Grand Island, New York. Give us a call at (716) 773-2788 or contact us online today to learn more.