Decades-Old Eyesore is Demolished in Extraordinary Display of Cooperation
ERIE COUNTY, NY— Today, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz applauded the work of the County Parks, Recreation & Forestry Department and the County Highway Department following the demolition and removal of the old bathhouse foundation wall which had stood at the entrance to Bennett beach for decades. In addition to being a public safety hazard, the wall had long been a target for graffiti and other vandalism, resulting in recurring cleanup costs to the County.
“The removal of this wall is the biggest improvement seen at Bennett Beach in many years, possibly in any of our lifetimes, and is another indication of my administration’s determination to provide the safe, welcoming beaches and parks that County residents want and deserve,” said Poloncarz. “Working with the Town of Evans and the New York State Department of Environment and Conservation (“NYSDEC”), the Parks Department was able to accomplish something that many thought could never be done, and they got it done in a short period of time. I commend everyone involved on a job very well done, and one that will benefit all who use this beach.”
Erie County Parks Commissioner Troy Schinzel began investigating requirements to demolish the wall in April 2012, cooperating with NYSDEC and the Town of Evans to secure the proper permits in order for the work to commence. Further inter-departmental cooperation and assistance from the Erie County Highway Department brought heavy equipment to the site to begin the two-week demolition and disposal of the wall, as well as remediation of the site at the conclusion of the project.
“The ongoing assistance of the County Highway Department, specifically Pat Baskerville and the crew from Hamburg, has been tremendous and is a major factor in the removal of this wall,” said Schinzel. “This is just one of the many projects that were completed this year in our parks to make areas safer and more attractive for everyone. The attitude that ‘this is the way it’s always been and you can’t change that’ doesn’t work for me, my staff, or this administration, and this project is an example of the change that can happen when people work together.”
The project crowns a busy year of improvements at Bennett beach, which sees thousands of visitors annually. In the spring, a complete renovation of the comfort station was finished, including a new roof, siding, electrical upgrades, interior painting and replacement of all doors. Presently, the Parks department is working with the County Highway department on parking lot improvements at Bennett. Improvements planned for 2013 include replacing on-site amenities such as picnic tables and grills, as well as the possible addition of fencing and signage designed to protect and preserve the vital sand dunes at the beach.