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Woodlawn Beach collected $75,589 in July

Woodlawn Beach State Park brought in $75,589 in July, which is more than New York State made in an entire season in recent years.

Hamburg Supervisor Steven Walters said the total revenue for the park through July 31 is $113,417, and the expenses are $131,454.

"There's been a lot said recently about Woodlawn either running in the black or running in the red, and whether the town can afford to run the park," he said during Monday's Town Board meeting. "This is a recreation opportunity for the residents of the Town of Hamburg and this community at large."

The town took over operation of the state park in February, and has since marketed the banquet facilities, leased restaurant rights to a vendor and offered amenities that New York State did not.

Democrats on the Town Board have been skeptical about the town taking over the beach since the state did not make money at it.

"We shouldn't simply be about dollars and cents. Yes we want to break even. Yes, we think we're going to eventually break even," the supervisor said.

Walters said a month ago the costs for Woodlawn could not be determined because some indirect costs could not be separated out in various town accounts, and he blamed Democrats for voting against setting up an enterprise fund that would allow the accounting. But he later gave The Buffalo News a breakdown of the direct costs for the first half of the year.

The supervisor came prepared to Monday's meeting.

He compared the costs to Hamburg Town Park, a beach just down Route 5 from Woodlawn that is open only to town residents. He said revenues for the town park were $70,075 during the same time period, while expenses were $170,536.

"That doesn't mean we should close the town park and you haven't heard anyone say we should close the town park simply because they're running in the red," he said. "I think it's misguided, and in many circumstances it's political to say if Woodlawn can't run in the black it should be closed."

The two Democrats on the board said their concerns are not political, but more about watching expenses during lean economic times.

"This is more about spending money wisely for the Town of Hamburg and keeping our eye on expenses, which if we keep doing will make this thing a success," Councilman Joseph Collins said. "We have to keep our eye on what it's costing the taxpayers because its coming out of our pocket."

And resident David Bellissimo noted that not many parks make money.

"There are a number of town parks and we don't break even on any number of them," he said.