Town of Hamburg Tries to Spin Off State Park

February 15, 2011 Updated Feb 15, 2011 at 12:25 AM EDT

By John Borsa

February 15, 2011 Updated Feb 15, 2011 at 12:25 AM EDT

HAMBURG, NY (WKBW) - Western New Yorkers are dreaming about sand and sun and a dip in Lake Erie as winter temperatures continue to hover below freezing.

And thanks to an agreement between New York State and the Town of Hamburg, Woodlawn Beach State Park will remain open for local residents to catch some rays and cool off.

"This is a mile long of public beach was going to be closed because of the state's fiscal problem," said Steven Walters, town supervisor of Hamburg.

It's already a done deal. And the town believes it can do a better job of the state making money.

"We are going to try to market the facility and offer different activities such as volleyball and some water sports," said Hamburg's recreation director Martin Denecke.

But the deal requires town taxpayers pick up the tab for any losses.

On Monday night, the town board considered a proposal to spin-off the park as its own entity, much like the way the town's golf course is operated.

It would insulate taxpayers from paying for the park directly, Walters said.

The proposal failed in a two-to-two vote.

Walters said he'll try to pass the item again in the future.

Two other local towns are considering takeovers of their doomed state parks. Lewiston may take over Joseph Davis State Park and officials in the Town of Aurora are looking at taking over Knox Farm State Park.