Changes At Cheektowaga Town Park | News
CHEEKTOWAGA, NY - It's been a part of the Cheektowaga Independence Day celebration for years, but this year the midway amusement rides and games were kept out for one reason.
Over the last 2 years, two separate shootings happened at the park. One of them killed 19 year old Ira Watkins who was an innocent bystander caught up in a shootout between 2 gangs.
Town of Cheektowaga Police Chief Dave Zack told 2 On Your Side the section where the midway was kept would get so crowded it became dangerous for people, and at times a problem area for police especially at night.
Zack said most of the problems over the years were caused by unruly teenagers. The decision by police and the Town Board wasn't welcomed by everyone.
Carnival employee Patrick Harris said, "The lack of the people that are around here, because there's no rides, there's nothing to attract them here. It's a shame that they have to go to this extent. Hopefully next year they'll have the rides back."
Two On Your Side Reporter Patrick Moussignac asked Chief Zack if the midway rides would ever return to the park again? Zack responded by saying, "We'll evaluate after this year. Obviously the decision of removing the midway was an evaluation of the last 2 years. So we'll see how things go this year, and We'll make the decisions as they come."
This year only food and soft drinks were available at the park near where the rides and games once stood.
To make things extra safe for everyone at the park, officers patrolled the park in marked cars, on Segways, and even in golf carts until the festivities ended after the Independence Day fireworks show.