NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB)– Tourists might soon be able to add surfing to the list of things they can do in Niagara Falls – and they won’t be surfing on the Falls.
An artificial beach and wave pool, that’s big enough for swimming and surfing, encased by a retractable roof is what businessman Michael DiCienzo has planned for the area next to the Sheraton Hotel Third Street in Niagara Falls.
The Niagara Beach and Surf Club will also serve as a multi use-facility offering space for conventions, concerts, and weddings.
“There’s not very many attractions open at all, during the offseason,” said DiCienzo. “This gives people an indoor year-round climate-controlled 84 degrees tropical paradise year-round.”
The Surf Club is planned for the lot adjacent to the hotel on Third Street. He says they have an agreement with the city to purchase that lot.
He originally planned to use the lot for an indoor water park, but those plans fell through.
DiCienzo says, he did not get state funding for the project, because his project would compete with the Wonder Falls project that also planned to have an indoor water park. So, instead, DiCienzo has pitched the new idea of the surf club for that space.
As far as funding, the project is going to cost $15 million. The businessman has already been approved for a $2 million grant from the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency.
The project could put money in the pockets of seasonal tourism workers in Niagara Falls.
“Tourism is our biggest industry, there’s no doubt about that, and two-thirds of our tourism employment is part-time, that’s a major problem when your largest industry most of their employees are part-time,” said councilman Christopher Voccio. “But, if we could flop that, and there are plenty of folks working on it, but if we can flop that so that two-thirds of those people are full time that would be a game-changer for the city. It would change the whole nature of our economy. So, it’s attractions like this that are going to be helpful to turning that tide.”