After years of delays and false starts, the state is
getting ready to rebuild the Beaver Island State Park
Parks officials are preparing to go out to bid early
next year for what is expected to be a $4 million
building that will replace the one destroyed by a fire
Construction could begin in 2002, with at least parts
of the project completed by the end of next year,
The new casino pavilion would incorporate some of the
architectural design of the original 1930s building, and
would feature some pieces of the original structure,
including door columns and the bell towers, according to
officials who have seen the design.
In addition to the structure, the state is spending
another $2 million in infrastructure improvements, such
as water and sewer lines, in the area, officials said.
State parks officials contacted Thursday either
declined to return calls or didn't immediately have
details to release on the plan.
However, Rep. John J. LaFalce, D-Town of Tonawanda,
disclosed some details of the project in announcing that
the National Park Service will provide a $2 million
matching funds grant to help rebuild the casino
pavilion. The state would provide the rest of the money.
LaFalce said the project will include a new picnic
pavilion, a bathhouse, and a lifeguard and first aid
station, as well as a comfort station, a concession area
and a beach administration building.
Others said the building will also have banquet
facilities, and the state will be looking for a
concessionaire to run the facility.
Following LaFalce's announcement, other local and
state officials confirmed they had been briefed recently
by state parks officials on the new casino pavilion.
"I've seen the design, and it looks
terrific," said Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, D-Buffalo.
Grand Island Supervisor Peter McMahon also saw the
designs and confirmed that work would begin in 2002.
The state had originally been hoping to find a
private developer to rebuild the pavilion, and even
selected one several years ago as part of a
public-private partnership. But the deal fell through
last year when the developer couldn't get financing.
After that, state officials said that if a private
developer didn't emerge, the state would rebuild the
The original casino building was constructed in 1938
and contained a restaurant, offices and a banquet hall.
After fire swept through the building in October 1992,
only the basement level remained. It has continued to
operate, and has provided restrooms and changing rooms
as well as lifeguard and first aid stations for the
nearby beach. It also has space for park police offices.