ERIE COUNTY, N.Y. (WIVB) – Six local, historical Works Progress Administration-era buildings in Erie County parks have been completed, and another is almost completed.

The structures have been renovated through the first phase county’s RENEW Plan and funded mainly through $1.3 million in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan, as well as available capital funding.

The renovated structures are as follows:

            •              Chestnut Ridge Park Comfort Station #2 

            •              Chestnut Ridge Park Comfort Station #4

            •              Chestnut Ridge Park Comfort Station #5

            •              Como Lake Park Lighthouse

            •              Como Lake Park Casino Building

            •              Ellicott Creek Park Island Comfort Station (this project is nearly completed)

            •              Isle View Park Comfort Station (completed with regular capital funding)

The buildings were created during the Great Depression era when the WPA (created by Pres. Franklin Roosevelt in 1935) put about 8.5 million Americans to work on infrastructure projects across the country. The Erie County Parks System is home to multiple WPA-era structures.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz says that more RENEW Plan projects are in the works.

“These renovations are the first phase of our RENEW Plan for the parks, investing up to $14.3 million in funding across the 10,000-acre system,” Poloncarz said. “Our Parks have been extremely popular and well-used since the pandemic began, and visitors will be pleased to know that more renovations and restorations are ahead as we continue to preserve, protect and maintain our parks for the next generation.”

Other RENEW Plan projects or other capital projects for Erie County Parks include:

·         Chestnut Ridge Park Casino Restroom Renovations, including accessibility improvements. These renovations will be well-sited to serve visitors to the nearby Playground for All (which was completed in 2021)

·         Chestnut Ridge Park Main Parking Lot improvements including drainage, green infrastructure, resurfacing, curbing, and striping

·         Wendt Beach estate renovations to the mansion, stables and parking lot

·         rehabilitation of four WPA-era shelters at Emery and Ellicott Creek Parks

·         rehabilitation of the historic Grover Cleveland Schenck House

·         construction of five additional Inclusive Playgrounds, to be located in Chestnut Ridge, Como Lake, Emery, Akron Falls and Ellicott Creek parks.

Kaley Lynch is a digital reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2017. See more of her work here.