Niagara Falls State Park underwent a major revitalization initiative that included 12 distinct project areas. LiRo served as construction manager for this project.
About the Project
Established in 1885, Niagara Falls State Park is the oldest state park in the nation, and it hosts over eight million visitors annually. The park was created to protect the views of the spectacular falls and to limit commercial development of the area. Consisting of three separate waterfalls – Horseshoe, American, and Bridal Veil – the falls span both American and Canadian land. With an average flow of four million cubic ft per minute, the combined falls form the highest flow rate of any waterfall in the world and have a vertical drop of more than 165 ft.
Project Challenges & Solutions
The restoration needed to balance the historical design intent of the original 1887 Olmstead and Vaux plan for the Niagara Reservation with ecological sustainability and incorporation of contemporary needs.
Paved surfaces and lawn areas were reduced where possible to restore a more naturalized environment consistent with the original design. A conformed palette of site furnishings, railings, and paving materials was established to provide a unified appearance throughout the park. Universal Access accommodations were also integrated into the project to enhance visitor accessibility.
Renovation phases completed include:
- Prospect Point, which provides stunning views of the American Falls and is the location of the Observation Tower and the launching point for the Maid of the Mist cruise boat.
- Lower Grove Trails, which follow the American Rapids upstream to the American Falls pedestrian bridges.
- North Shore Trail, which provides a scenic path linking Goat Island and Luna Island. In addition to new site furnishings, pavement, lighting and landscaping, a number of overlooks were installed to permit patrons to view the Niagara River rapids before it plunges over the American Falls. The trail was also regraded to allow for handicap access.
- Luna Bridge Restoration over the Bridal Falls rapids.
- Cave of the Winds Plaza, which created an area of new comfort station, outdoor picnic area, and the relocation of the iconic Tesla Statue.
- New NYS Parks Police barracks.
- Cave of the Winds Pavilion, which provides an interactive experience to the visitors with an education center, video theater, and changing area, all in preparation for the Cave of the Winds experience.
- Wayfinding Program, which provides visitors with updated graphics of the restored park.
- Parking lots 1 and 2 restoration, including new drainage infrastructure, lighting, and landscaping.
- Terrapin Point restoration and renovation to allow for handicapped access to view the iconic Horseshoe Falls.
In addition to other landscaping phases, LiRo also coordinated demolition and fit-out work at the Keenan-Castellani Art Gallery located at Deveaux Woods. See renderings of the restoration project here.