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The Buffalo News (New York)


Construction of a new playground and exercise course at Liberty (Big Lou Sirianni) Park, at the corner of Forest Avenue and 19th Street, will get underway this Spring. The project was voted for by the residents of Niagara Falls, through the city's Participatory Budgeting Process, giving the public direct control of neighborhood spending.

Niagara Falls Community Development (NFCD) has partnered with Destination Niagara USA, the region's destination marketing organization, to include Destination Niagara USA's new branding at the park.

"We are creating dynamic public spaces that feel different than typical parks and playgrounds," said Seth Piccirillo, NFCD director. "Including Destination Niagara USA's unique look will let residents know that Liberty Park is theirs and a place to be proud of."

The new Liberty Park will include a physical fitness course designed for all ages, with workout routines that can be accessed by a mobile app.

Destination Niagara USA, formerly the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corporation, unveiled a new tourism marketing brand to increase awareness of Niagara Falls and Niagara County as an international bucket-list destination in March 2017. Earlier this year, the new website earned a Gold Adrian Award from the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association.

John Percy, president and CEO of Destination Niagara USA, said, "We are extremely happy with the new brand and the tremendous success we are seeing so far in the consumer marketplace. The brand, however, isn't just about tourists; it can also serve as a symbol of pride for our local residents who live, work and play here. We are honored to be a part of this playground project that local children and their families are sure to enjoy and we thank Niagara Falls Community Development for including us."

The entire park improvement project is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.

"Federal funding provided through the CDBG program allows for communities to invest in areas that best fit their needs," said Congressman Brian Higgins. "This project, driven by resident input, continues a series of investments that bring people together and strengthen local neighborhoods."

The process that allowed residents to vote for Liberty Park, designated Niagara Falls as only the second American city to invite residents to decide how CDBG funds are spent.

Once completed, Liberty Park will also feature new community programming funded by a recently received state Health Foundation funding award, in partnership with the Niagara Falls City School District and EMPOWER.

A rendering of the new park may be found at:

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April 15, 2018


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