Upcoming upgrade

BEMUS POINT – Besides winning prizes for answering trivia questions, Bemus Point Historical Society members also heard about future plans for the two state parks in the south part of the county.

On Tuesday, Kate Gross, Midway and Long Point state parks manager, was the invited guest to speak at the Bemus Point Historical Society Museum, which is located at 13 Alburtus Ave. in Bemus Point. Gross, who has been the parks manager for Midway and Long Point for about two years, said renovations and rehabilitation projects are under way. At Midway, she said a rehabilitation project has started for the 1946 carousel.

For the past four years, the carousel has been located outside, but a refurbished carousel will be back home under the roundhouse this season.

“It will be an adventure in May when people step on to the carousel,” Gross said.

Midway State Park, located at 4859 state Route 430 in Bemus Point, has been a place of recreation on Chautauqua Lake since 1889, when it opened as a trolley park. It is the 16th oldest continually operating amusement park in the country.

“Midway is an anomaly because it is the only amusement park our state runs,” she said.

Gross said work has been done on the train as well, with the engine being refurbished for this upcoming season. The park manager said she is also working on adding pavilions to the park because three have been damaged in recent years.

Gross was asked if any rides will be added to the park. She said the only rides that can be added are those that have been a part of the park in the past to be historically correct. She said the plan might be to rent historic rides to see which ones customers like best before purchasing a permanent historic ride.

The park will open for the season Memorial Day weekend, and will be open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

At Long Point State Park, Gross said future plans included possibly building an additional pavilion to go with the one already constructed and two gazebos. She said a goal for this year is to add a welcome sign for an entrance to the park and a bench.

“The park has a lot of potential,” she said.

The park manager said the park gets plenty of use from snowmobilers and cross-country skiers during the winter. Several running races and cross-country meets are held at the park, as well. She said six fishing tournaments will be held at Long Point, including a New York BASS Chapter Federation Tournament in June.

Even though Gross isn’t the park manager for Lake Erie State Park in Brocton, she said the park has more than 90 campsites and several cabins for people looking to spend the night in the great outdoors along the lake.