Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — NIAGARA FALLS â€” It's official. The Niagara Falls Culinary Institute is open.
City, county and state leaders gathered Friday in the atrium of the $26 million facility to celebrate the completion of the project with a ribbon cutting. Students started taking classes at the school and a Barnes and Nobles book store opened in early September. A pastry shop and deli are scheduled to open within a few weeks and the fine dining restaurant â€” Savor â€” is expected to open by the beginning of November.
Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy attended the ribbon cutting ceremony. He said that the culinary institute is a stunning facility.
Duffy, a Democrat, pointed to state sen. George Maziarz, R-Newfane, and assemblyman John Ceretto, R-Lewiston, as key players in making the idea of the institute a reality.
"I think this is a great lesson for people working together," Duffy said. "Put political parties aside and focus on the things that are right for the people who put us in office."
Ceretto sponsored the assembly resolution that allowed the college to take control of the section of the building that now houses the culinary institute.
Duffy also thanked Niagara County Legislature Chairman Bill Ross, C-Wheatfield, and Falls Mayor Paul Dyster.
Duffy said that when he visited last December he got a sense of what was coming.
"It's a great investment for the city," Duffy said. "It is, I believe, going to be a top-rated facility of its kind in the eastern part of this country."
Dr. James Klyczek, the president of Niagara County Community College, was a driving force behind the institute. He said that he was thankful for the hundreds of men and women who worked on the project.
"I hope they are as proud of their contribution to this campus as we are," Klyczek said.
Klyczek said that Duffy was critical in the transformation of 90,000 square feet of the abandoned mall.
"I don't think that any of us can recall a lieutenant governor as active and involved and hard working on such critical projects," Klyczek said.
Dyster said that he was glad that Duffy was able to make it and asked him to bring a message back to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
"If the governor is having any second thoughts about trusting us with money from the billion dollar challenge," Dyster said, "tell him to come look at the culinary institute."