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PLANS FOR BEACH WELL-RECEIVED DURING HEARING

There is something for nearly everyone in the proposed master plan for Woodlawn Beach State Park, and most of those speaking at a public hearing Monday night liked what they saw in the plan.

Recurrent suggestions were: move the swimmers away from the boats, and make sure windsurfers can drop off their gear close to the water's edge.

About 40 people attended the hearing in the Gateway Office Center auditorium adjacent to the Hamburg beach.

"If all goes well, construction will start by next summer," said Henry Brodowski, deputy district parks director. "By 2000 hopefully we'll have some permanent structures."

Formulated by the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the draft master plan lays out development plans for the 106-acre park. Most of the active recreation and structures would be concentrated at the southern end, with more passive recreation located in the north part.

Along the mile-long sandy Lake Erie beach, swimming, boat landings and windsurfing would be allowed. Many asked that the boats be separated from the swimming area, and windsurfers asked for a little breathing room, too.

"Non-powered and powered craft don't mix too well. There is a need to keep a fair amount of separation," said Robert Muffley of Western New York Windsurfers.

Other windsurfers asked that they be allowed to park their cars near the launch site or park for a few minutes while they drop off their gear. David Kunkle of Western New York Windsurfers said his board is 11.5 feet long and weighs 30 pounds without the sail.

"I carry it on my head," he said, adding there was a long walk from the parking area to a 60-foot path through the sand at the beach last summer.

In addition to swimming, sunbathing and windsurfing, other recreation that would be available in a fully-developed park includes surfing, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, walking, hiking and jogging trails, volleyball and other beach games, nature appreciation and education, as well as winter uses such as cross country skiing and snowshoeing.

Hamburg Councilwoman Joan A. Kesner suggested the state build a swimming pool at the beach, in the event environmental problems cannot be solved.

"They (park goers) will have another option. This way they won't have to cancel their plans," she said.

The beach was closed to swimming for nearly one-third of the time last summer, and more than half the summer before. Officials are hoping the construction of the Highland Acres sewers and improvements to the Blasdell and Hamburg sewer district facilities will greatly enhance the water quality at the beach.

Ms. Kesner said problems may arise from the proximity of the beach to the slag piles left by Bethlehem Steel Corp., and Ted Stoklosa of Blasdell said leaching from septic systems in other towns finds its way into Rush and Blasdell creeks, which empty into the lake at Woodlawn.

Assemblyman Richard A. Smith, D-Hamburg, and several Woodlawn residents noted that some Woodlawn residents have access rights to the beach.

"Have we resolved yet the water access rights?" Smith asked.

Thomas B. Lyons, director of the environmental management bureau of the parks office, said written comments will be accepted until Dec. 14.

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