ANGOLA, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Cradle Beach camp and campus is celebrating a new era for the special children and families it serves, cutting the ribbon Wednesday on its new New Era Performing Arts Center.

Fundraising for the facility started in 2012, but the dream was finally able to becme reality thanks to $640,000 in donations from the New Era Foundation and members of the Koch family personally.

Cradle Beach has been serving Western New York children with disabilities and severe economic disadvantages since 1888, moving to its current campus on Old Lake Shore Road in 1996. At that time, Cradle Beach leaders tried to come up with a way to move the old performing arts pavilion from the former campus to the new site. Logistically, that wasn’t possible.

Work has been underway for years to create a new pavilion at the new location, but Cradle Beach leaders noted what has now opened is greater than they would have imagined.

It’s a fully-accessible space for adaptable programming, for everything from plays to poetry readings, camp competitions to concerts, and more.

“This allows us to really help transform our campus into a year round facility, to continue to offer the amazing opportunities for children for self expression, for creativity, to engage in the performing arts and culture, and to also be able to further collaborate with our community of expertise and providers and allow them some wonderful experiences and transforming for generations to come,” said Ann-Marie Orlowski, Cradle Beach CEO.

The new center will also be available for community groups and organizations for presentations, performances, meetings, and special gatherings.

It is dedicated in memory of Jack C. Anthony, who served as director for Cradle Beach for decades.