Friday July 25, 2014 | By:Martin C. Denecke |
I consider the Woodlawn Beach editorial cartoon in the July 10 issue of The Sun a cheap shot at the agencies who have worked diligently in making the park an extremely popular Western New York destination. Although record numbers of people are visiting the site, the cartoonist portrays the efforts of our state, county and local government and our partners as futile.
Since taking over the operation and maintenance of Woodlawn Beach State Park from the state of New York in 2011, the facility has been transformed from being under-utilized to one that has become a major attraction to people of all ages, interests and backgrounds from the Western New York community and beyond. This includes individuals with disabilities, as improved methods for accessibility have been implemented.
When the town took control, we were informed by New York state officials that on a good day, we could expect about 200 cars to pass through the gate. Right off the bat, the town aggressively planned and sought partners for the purpose of increasing those numbers. Action was taken to improve the atmosphere and offer more activity. New programs, features and events were added, in an effort to appeal to as many users as possible. With new and upgraded amenities and increased marketing, the number of beach/park goers has multiplied exponentially, over time.
In June of this year, we set a new record for paid admissions for that particular month. Last weekend, July 5 and 6, a record number of cars passed through the gate on each of those days. The nearly 1,400 vehicles per day represents a pattern of increased participation that seems to go up every nice weather weekend we’ve experienced so far this summer.
The weekends do not have a monopoly on the fun our patrons experience, when attending Woodlawn Beach. Our Adventure Day Camp program runs Monday-Friday, for children 6-14, and has been selling out, every week. Regular weeknight activities for families and adults include movie nights, drum circle and volleyball leagues. Whether a weekday or weekend, the sunsets at Woodlawn are spectacular!
As noted, there is much more to Woodlawn than just going into the water. The water is open for swimming most days, unless we experience heavy or persistent rain, the previous day. The runoff from nearby creeks after rain is the main contributor to the bacteria associated with our water closings. With that said, the New York state and Erie County Health Departments have an office in our complex and have scientists working on mitigating the factors that affect the quality of the water. Those efforts will increase our ability to stay open more days, in the future.
In closing, I encourage all people to stop out and experience one of the most amazing and fun-filled parks in New York state. I can assure you the potential for enjoyment is highly favorable!
Martin C. Denecke
Town of Hamburg Department of Youth, Recreation and Senior Services