Progress at Knox Farm State Park
Just two years ago, Knox Farm State Park's future was bleak. Now, there's a brighter outlook for the historic property and as YNN's Kaitlyn Lionti tells us, some new opportunities for people to get an inside look.
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EAST AURORA, N.Y. — It's a beloved piece of East Aurora, and Knox Farm State Park is benefiting from that love.
"The community has really stepped up and said, hey, we really love this park, we love having it here, and we want to make it work," said Mark Thomas, Western District director for New York State Parks.
Thomas says in the last year, the state parks have been able to divert more resources for some of the crucial maintenance at Knox Farm, but they don't have the money to staff at the levels they used to. So he says partnerships are key.
Thomas says the Town of Aurora has taken over managing all the active recreation fields, and the state's entered an agreement with the Friends of Knox Farm State Park to manage the main house.
"Booking of parties, receptions, all that sort of thing, and related business. It's a very big role, we're very excited to have them in a partnership where they're able to work on it, they're also doing some maintenance work on this building," said Thomas.
"I think that people will be attracted to seeing the grounds and being here, there's a mystique about the house," said Seymour Knox, president of the Friends of Knox Farm State Park, Inc.
Knox says six weddings are already planned for the upcoming summer.
"We're working on having a number of different caterers to be able to be here for the wedding, photographers, a band, so when they're able to come, they have somebody that's here," said Knox.
Currently, volunteers with the Friends group are working inside the house in preparation for a major event - the Junior League of Buffalo's 2013 Decorator's Show House.
The Junior League takes possession of the house starting January 1, and tens of thousands of people will come through in the following months.
"Everybody was so excited, because of the Knox Family, because of their history. People are just chomping at the bit, really want to get ready and get going on it," said Kitty Lysiak of the Junior League.
And Knox says proceeds from events in the main house will help with its upkeep.