$2.7 million project among many improvements at park
By Terry Duffy
Just in time for summer, the striking new bathhouse facility at Fort Niagara State Park is now complete.
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation announced the $2.7 million Fort Niagara State Park Bathhouse adjacent to the popular swimming pool is now open - and will coincide with the park's kick-off to the swimming season this weekend.
Funded through Gov. Andrew Cuomo's NY Parks 2020 initiative, the bathhouse includes brick and stone masonry that reflects the historic architectural integrity of Old Fort Niagara and adds open-air entry to improve sightlines and better connect visitors between the pool and the bathhouse.
"Under Gov. Cuomo's NY Parks 2020 initiative, one of main priorities has been to deepen the visitor experience, and there is no doubt that this new bathhouse does just that," State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said Thursday in her remarks to a number of state and local officials in attendance. "Visitors to this park deserve this beautiful new facility and I look forward to seeing people enjoying it all summer long."
The facility offers a deep roof overhang that will provide shade from the sun and cover from unexpected weather; lifeguard facilities; women's, men's and family changing rooms; a ticket booth; and native landscaping along the exterior of the building. The siding and trim on the building are built with materials consisting of fiber cement intended to improve the durability of the building, require less maintenance, and be rot-resistant and impervious to insects.
The new bathhouse is ADA-compliant and features accessible parking, pathways and changing facilities. Energy efficiencies incorporated into the new bathhouse include natural ventilation, LED lighting, skylights that will maximize the use of daylight, and water-saving plumbing fixtures.
"This bathhouse, it's about children, families, making things accessible to use for all. We're encouraging more to come; this is the site of our learn to swim classes, free classes for all children so they can learn to swim. It's a two-week program; really important to communities right here, surrounded by the river and Great Lake," Harvey said.
Learn to swim classes at Fort Niagara State Park will be held from 10-11 a.m. July 9-13 and 16-20.
"This is also a part of our 'Connect Kids' program, which is about more access, more programming, teaching more skills to more kids, throughout the state," Harvey said.
She noted the program includes free bussing, with programming to available Title One schools.
"We want everyone to come and sign up," she said.
The bathhouse facility complements other improvements taking place at Fort Niagara. State Parks announced that, come July 4th weekend, visitors will be able to enjoy new boat docks on the lower Niagara. That includes 700 linear feet of ADA-accessible floating docks connecting the north and south launches. The docks include dedicated fishing space and a jet ski launch.
Harvey pointed out this project restores the shoreline areas and also adds a touch of beautification. She said the improved Fort Niagara boat docks - the only public docks between Lewiston and Wilson - will allow boaters to stop and enjoy the park, Old Fort Niagara Historic Site and the Village of Youngstown.
"Please come and enjoy this park!" Harvey said.
For more information on Fort Niagara State Park's latest offerings, visit www.nysparks.com