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Is Woodlawn Beach sustainable long-term?

If early indications show anything, then there are two things we can gather from the first few weeks of summer.

1. It is going to be a hot and relatively dry season for the second year in a row.

2. Large crowds will continue to make their way to Woodlawn Beach State Park this summer to cool off.

For nearly a year and a half now, the Town of Hamburg has been operating the state owned park after reaching an agreement.

Complete with a banquet facility, a bar and a ton of space along the beach, Hamburg has added bounce houses and slides that parents can pay to have their children enjoy this summer not far from the boardwalk entrance onto the beach.

When you drive around the circle near Route 179 near the entrance to Woodlawn Beach, the large number of cars that are parked outside of the facility is undeniable on nice weather days.

With plenty of sun and several more hot days ahead, there is little question that it is going to be a destination for many.

Now the question arises, will it be, financially, a jewel for the Town of Hamburg, or will the cost to operate the facility far outweigh the revenue brought in?

Right now, we are in the busy season for Woodlawn Beach State Park, so now is the time when the money is coming through the gates and revenue should be at its peak.

We certainly hope that it proves to be worth the time and effort put into the facility.

On July 6, the beach was packed in the evening with people to see fireworks that had been postponed a couple of days prior, with the display in honor of Independence Day.

By 6:30 p.m. – nearly three hours before the fireworks – there were people directing traffic as parking spots filled up quick as many people decided to enjoy the nice weather that evening.

By the end of the fireworks display, those who came converged toward the boardwalk area. Without a doubt, there were many people who decided they wanted to come to Woodlawn Beach that evening to enjoy the festivities.

Although it took a while to get off the beach, the crowd was orderly and it proved to be a major success, at least as far as the number of people who came out and attended.

One of the big litmus tests in this endeavor has been trying to determine how much interest there is by people who want to make Woodlawn Beach a destination point.

With a second straight year of ideal weather for beach goers, there is little doubt that the interest is there. This despite having to pay a small fee to enter during the daytime hours.

From the standpoint of interest, it appears to be success to date. However, the other half of the equation – and arguably the most important – is whether there is enough revenue coming into to sustain operating Woodlawn Beach.

That is an answer we should have a better idea of by the end of summer, as long as the current weather patterns continue to hold. The Town of Hamburg signed a 10-year-deal in 2011 with the state to assume control. The town can opt out at any time. The hope is that it never has to come to that point. The people are coming out to use the beach in large numbers.

We want to see this succeed for the Town of Hamburg and prove to be a source of revenue. We hope Steven Walters gives updates at town board meetings like he did in 2011.With many great amenities in place already, people are clearly enjoying the experience of bringing families there, so there is great reason for optimism.

On the flip side, there does need to be a sense of reality and we truly hope the figures – both in attendance and revenue – are on par with one another.

It is a great destination spot during the hot summer weather.


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