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Hamburg officials deny plans to decommission town beach

Hamburg officials say they have no plans to scuttle the town beach if they are successful in their bid to run the larger Woodlawn Beach State Park.

Rumors and questions about the future of Hamburg Town Beach have been circulating since the town's interest in running Woodlawn became public early last month.

The president of the Locksley Park Taxpayers Association asked the board what it plans to do with the town beach.

"Is it true the Town of Hamburg does not have long-term plans to keep Hamburg Beach? Is it the intention of this Town Board to relinquish the beach rights back to Locksley Park homeowners?" Laura Hahn asked the board Monday night.

Board members said there is a reason residents have not heard anything about plans for the park.

"That discussion has never taken place," Councilwoman Amy Carroll-Ziegler said.

In January, the town announced that the town fitness center, located at the town beach, would close by April 1. Hahn said the town suggested in February that once the center was closed, it would renovate the building and rent it for private parties. But once town officials heard from Locksley Park taxpayers, they withdrew the idea of renting it out.

"Where are the short-and long-term plans for Hamburg Beach for the public to review?" Hahn asked. "I have been told you want to dump the beach."

Town officials said several times they have not talked about decommissioning the town beach. Town Attorney Kenneth Farrell said it would require state legislation, since the beach is town parkland.

The forerunner of the taxpayers association, the Locksley Park Co., conveyed the beach to the town in 1914, but there are some restrictions in the warranty deed: Only town residents can use the beach, alcohol is not allowed, and the town cannot rent out the facility.

Hamburg officials have been negotiating with New York State to come up with a long-term lease allowing the town to operate Woodlawn Beach State Park, which was slated for closing this year. Supervisor Steven J. Walters said the town has turned over comments on the proposal to the state for review but has not heard back.

He said representatives from the state Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation said the governor's office has told them to continue discussions with any municipalities that expressed interest in running parks.

"Talks continue," regional state parks spokeswoman Angela Berti said.

e-mail: bobrien@buffnews.com

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