Is High Falls Underutilized?

There are people who think High Falls is underutilized.

Not High Falls the neighborhood. High Falls, the actual falls. By properly showcasing High Falls, it would naturally help the neighborhood.

High Falls, the natural resource, is stunning. The falls, the gorge walls, and the downtown skyline make for some breathtaking views.

When you think about it, no one really enjoys the scenery. The city ended the only thing that made the Pont du Rennes Bridge a destination – the laser light shows. High Falls has become a nice office and residential district, but there’s no real critical mass of people. You don’t see throngs of people on a hot summer day strolling the bridge. There are only a couple eateries with views of the gorge.

I didn’t realize this is an issue until Genesee Brewery announced it wants to tear down 13 Cataract St. The brewery plans to build a deck at its new visitors center that will have the best vantage point of High Falls.

Genesee Brewery wants to make the visitors center an attractive, inviting place. Few people walk all the way across the Pont du Rennes Bridge to the brewery side. CEO Rich Lozyniak would like to create more open space with better sight lines, making it safer and more attractive to come to his side of High Falls. He believes High Falls is underutilized.

Enter Garden Aerial. This is a small non-profit few people know exists. Led by two men who work at a marketing firm in High Falls, the group aims to turn the Pont du Rennes into a floating garden. Garden Aerial would love to turn the Cataract building into a wintergarden. It even wants to build a second bridge across the falls. Garden Aerial thinks High Falls is seriously underutilized.

Garden Aerial has no money. The project strikes me as the stuff of dreams. But you’ve got people on both sides of High Falls saying, “Look what we have here. This is awesome. We need to do more.”

Below is a video of Garden Aerial’s vision.

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