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Source: YNN Buffalo

Park advocates rally to keep Woodlawn Beach open

BY NICKI MAYO

Posted: March 8, 2010
Originally Published: March 8, 2010

BLASDELL, NY--- The Smith family spends countless winter weekends at Blasdell’s Woodlawn Beach, but this soon could change.

Governor David Paterson proposed a $6.5million dollar plan to close 41 parks and 14 historic sites April 1st. It’s an effort to fix the state’s nearly $9billion dollar deficit.

“Our parks and our environment are not a luxury,” said Citizens Campaign for the Environment WNY Director Brian P. Smith. “They are not something that should be sacrificed in short sided budget cuts,” Smith added.

“There’s a much bigger fish to go after than the parks, but it’s used because so many people love the parks and use the parks,” said Assemblyman Jack Quinn. “It’s kind of done in a political way to bring to light the face that we are in such a bad time,” added the 146th District representative.

“We learned firsthand here in Erie County that they didn’t accomplish a lot closing the county parks and actually made some unsafe situations,” said 58th District State Senator Bill Stachowski.

Western New York’s Allegany, Long Point and Knox Farm State Parks are also slated to close if the proposal goes through.

Woodlawn Beach is one of more than 50 state parks possibly on the chopping block in an effort to balance the budget. At a time when the state is struggling to attract and retain residents, advocates for parks say closing parks is just as bad as closing the doors to New York.

“It’s like hanging up a big sign that says, ‘Welcome to New York a lousy place to live.’ Closing parks is like saying, ‘would the last person out please turn out the lights’” said Buffalo Audubon Society's’ William “Huck” Hudson.

“We’ve seen it with Chestnut ridge when the county closed the park. You went there and there was garbage thrown everywhere,” said Woodlawn beachgoer Chris Henning.

“As soon as you close the gate and stop painting the signs, cleaning up the trash and mowing the grass the only people who will come into the parks are vandals,” Hudson added.
New York state parks and historic sites generate $1.9billion dollars annually.

Some Woodlawn beachgoers say the summers sunsets mixed with this winter wonderland are priceless.

“It’s a treasure. It gives great access to the waterfront. The beauty of this area is unparalleled,” said Buffalo’s Chuck Saia.