NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y., June 29 (UPI) -- The mayor of Niagara Falls, N.Y., said he wants to create "buzz" by paying as much as $7,000 each in student loans for 20 new residents who move into the city.
Mayor Paul Dyster, a second-term Democrat, said he wants to use Urban Renewal Agency funds to pay the students loans for each new resident in exchange for renting or buying a home, WBFO-FM, Buffalo, N.Y., reported.
Dyster said many students have a mountain of student debt after leaving college, having done what they were asked to do: "Get a good education."
The mayor said he wanted to bring some vibrancy to the city's quiet downtown -- where the population have been cut in half since the 1950s -- less than a mile from Niagara Falls.
Dyster said city officials were still working on the criteria, but they plan to take applications in autumn.
The idea for the youthful urban program was that of Seth Piccirillo, the 29-year-old director of community development. He said the city had to get creative and 20 new residents for two years will be 20 more cups of coffee sold each day, 20 more trips to the dry cleaners, etc.
The clock is ticking because Niagara Falls could drop below 50,000 during the next census and no longer be considered a city if some more people do not make it their new home.