Franklin D. Roosevelt

Remarks at the New Athletic Field, Niagara Falls, N.Y.

October 17, 1936

I am very glad to come back to Niagara Falls after an absence, I think, of four years. Many things have happened in those four years. I believe, from what I saw on the streets a few minutes ago, that it is a happier Niagara Falls today than it was then.

I take great pleasure in coming to this dedication of this stadium today. There are many reasons why we ought to be proud of what we have been doing. This stadium, like many others in the country, represents a twofold effort. The first is to give work to people who need work, and the other is to build physical improvements for the future.

As you people know, all of these projects on which the Federal Government is helping local governments have been conceived by the particular localities assisted. The projects have been thought of in the first instance by the local government, by citizens' associations and civic organizations. For that reason the Federal Government has been very glad to go along with projects that the localities themselves have wanted.

I suppose that this particular stadium might be called "boondoggling"; but it is pretty good boondoggling. In creating these new monuments— for they are really monuments—we are thinking not only about very practical things like waterworks and sewage disposal plants and projects of that kind which every community needs. We are also thinking about the kind of projects that will be useful as recreation to us and to our children. More and more, we are getting shorter working hours in this country; and we have to do more things which will give people a chance to enjoy themselves when they are not working.

With the advent of the automobile, we are building great parks in almost all of the States—State parks of which you have a very good example here in Niagara Falls, and Federal parks. We are building improved highways and farm-to-market roads, and we are going in for reforestation. And we are also building things like this stadium, places where we can come to watch baseball and football games. My one regret is that you have not a football game scheduled this morning.

May I say, in closing, just one further thing to you people who live close to the Border? I believe that in these past two or three years the relations between the United States and our great neighbor, the Dominion of Canada, have come to a point of friendship and understanding which we have never had in bygone years. It is a splendid thing, and I am very happy that this undefended border of ours has become internationally famous. People in other continents talk about this border between us and Canada. They cite it as an example of what they wish they had between themselves and their neighbors.

You who live along the border are in large part responsible for this friendly feeling on both sides of the border. We can thank you people here in Niagara Falls and I think I can even go so far as to thank our Canadian neighbors on the other side of the river for the splendid understanding between this country and Canada, for the example that you are all giving to the rest of the world on behalf of a better understanding and peace between Nations.

Thank you and good-bye.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Remarks at the New Athletic Field, Niagara Falls, N.Y. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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