Empty Beaches

Beach ClosedToday’s Buffalo News contains a front-page article about the continued closures of Wendt and Bennett beaches during the week. There’s no money in the county budget to keep them open. There hasn’t been any money for years. The grills, picnic tables, restrooms and snack bars are all broken. The beach itself is not maintained. There are no lifeguards.

Yet people still show up to swim.

Is there any reason why the county doesn’t charge a fee to swim there? If an average of 150 people showed up and were charged $3 to swim there, the $500 per day would more than pay for the lifeguards as well as three or four other county no-show employees who would inevitably show up on the beach payroll. What is so hard about figuring out that people will pay – a little – to get out of the heat? What is so hard about figuring out that if a beach is well-tended, it will draw people during the summer months? How much will it cost the county when somebody drowns there because there were no lifeguards?

County legislator Bob Reynolds promises to fully fund the beaches – by next summer.

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