Sources say that Mayor Paul Dyster is looking to sell the lucrative City-owned parking lots that operate in downtown Niagara Falls. The Dyster administration is desperate to secure cash — hoping to avoid massive layoffs in an election year during which Dyster’s protege, Seth Piccarillo, is seeking the Mayor’s office.
The City’s $13 million deficit was addressed this year with a loan from Governor Andrew Cuomo — which financial experts say only delays a necessary downsizing of City government. But layoffs in an election year would doom Piccarillo’s bid for the office and expose the financial mismanagement of the Dyster administration more broadly.
Sources close to the Mayor say that he has been lobbying Cuomo to purchase the Rainbow Mall Parking Ramp and the surface parking lot located on Niagara Street between First and Third. Both properties are among the City’s most prime development sites, and it’s thought that they might be able to raise $10 million on the open market.
While those monies could help delay looming layoffs, some residents think that the budget cuts should be made immediately so that monies from the property sales could be invested in streetscape improvements or other capital projects.
It’s unclear what Empire State Development might be willing to pay for the properties, but they recently purchased a series of parcels from businessman Joe Anderson for $24.5 million.