Nik Wallenda during a practice walk in Niagara Falls
NIAGARA FALLS, NY-- We're getting closer to the day when Nik Wallenda will attempt his Walk in 2 History.
On Tuesday, a spokesman for the agent representing Wallenda told 2 On Your Side that the necessary permits were signed in Albany. Wallenda's attorney was in the state capitol for a final staging meeting on the event. Signing the permits was part of the plan.
New York State Senator George Maziarz believes Wallenda was wiring the State Parks department $50,000 as part of the $150,000 cost associated with the event.
His tight-rope walk over Niagara Falls is next Friday.
Monday morning, stake holders in the Cataract City met to continue making their final preparations for thousands of spectators.
"We didn't have much time to prepare for this event but there's a huge number of dedicated people basically devoting their lives to getting ready for it," said Niagara falls Mayor Paul Dyster following Monday's meeting.
Special Events on American Side.
Indeed, one can now start to see some of the plans coming to fruition, to try and accommodate what's expected to be thousands of additional visitors on June 15th.
Some of the sheds deployed for last winter's holiday market on Old Falls Street are being re-purposed to house venders, as the street will take on a carnival like atmosphere the day of the event.
"The Side Show On Old Falls Street" will offer a variety of events aimed at families.
"We've got some fire breathers, a hoola hoop troupe, and aerial acrobatics that are happening...everything just to compliment what is going on in a circus theme and fun atmosphere," said Susan Swiatkowski, Director of Marketing for the nearby Niagara Falls Conference and Events Center.
There will also be two jumbo-tron televisions set up to allow folks to watch the crossing.
Dyster believes this might be advantageous for some people, who may be better off taking in the event in that fashion, rather than trying to jam into Niagara Falls State Park.
"If people are concerned about being with children or older relatives or people with wheel chairs with limited mobility being at the railing or being in the crush fo the crowds, you can come here and be part of this event and perhaps have a higher level of comfort...and you'll still feel like your part of the event," Dyster told WGRZ-TV.
Parking Plans Still Being Worked Out
While the former Rainbow Center parking ramp has just been re-opened after a complete renovation, offering 1,600 prime parking spaces, officials expect them to go quickly.
"As parking spaces close to the park start to fill up we're going to close those areas off to parking then direct people to spaces that are further away," said Dyster.
Satellite parking plans have yet to be finalized, and won't be until just days before the event, but Dyster said talks being held with the NY Power Authority to possibly use its lot at the Niagara Power Project combined with a shuttle system.
Can You Watch From The Rainbow Bridge?
Operators of the Rainbow Bridge say that while pedestrian traffic will still be allowed during the crossing, border agents will discourage spectators from lingering on the span to try and view Wallenda's stunt.
"People who wish to view the walk would be better served to either do it on the Canadian side or American side of the Rainbow Bridge," said Brent Gallaugher, manager of agency relations and security for the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission. "We just want to make sure people are moving so it doesn't cause any stress in people moving back and forth on the bridge," Gallaugher told Two On Your Side.
Because the bridge is some distance from where Wallenda will make his crossing, and due to the fact that it will be done at night, Gallaugher also believes the bridge wouldn't be a very good vantage point to watch the stunt anyway.
Maziarz: Permits Being Issued Soon
Meanwhile, NYS Senator George Maziarz (R-Newfane) is downplaying media reports that the stunt is in danger of not being performed because Wallenda has yet to be issued a permit from the New York State Parks Department.
"Wallenda's lawyer will be in Albany to sign the documents tomorrow," Maziarz said on Monday evening. "The money is being wired to the state as we speak," Maziarz said.
As Two On Your Side reported just after Wallenda announced the date for the walk, Wallenda has to pay the state substantial fees in order to make the crossing. State Parks officials also indicated at the time that it would indeed take several weeks in order to process the permit.
"We expect the permits to be finalized soon," said NYS Parks spokesman Dan Keefe in an e-mail to WGRZ-TV. "We are all systems go in terms of planning and preparing for the event."
"Everything is on time," said Maziarz, who also revealed to Channel 2 that he was successful in his effort to convince Wallenda to stage his post-crossing news conference in the U.S.
Here is a list of recommendations Niagara USA has for park goers who want to see the walk.
• Those with vouchers to see Nik Wallenda cross Niagara Falls must have photo ID to retrieve a wristband. Voucher holders can redeem them at Niagara Tourism & Convention Corporation's (NTCC) tent on Old Falls Street, at the Niagara Falls State Park kiosk or at the Cave of the Winds. Visitors and residents are encouraged to come early and spend the day.
• Terrapin Point will be closed off to the general public as of 5pm on Friday, June 15. Only those with wristbands and credentialed media with passes will be allowed in.
• Niagara Falls Coach Lines will be shuttling visitors from Buffalo Ave. to John B. Daly Blvd. on June 15. Five buses will be on hand from 4pm to 1am, to drive 44 adults per bus. The cost will be $5 per person. Parking is $5 per vehicle.
Logistics for parking is still being worked out. Officials will hold
press conference June 13 to announce plans for parking.
You can find more information on the walk on our website: Walk In 2 History.