Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — NEWFANE – According to Gina Guido, everybody in Newfane grew up going to Krull Park in Olcott. So, being such a big part of the community, maybe it’s fitting that Newfane’s park was so successful in Coca-Cola’s America Is Your Park campaign.
And because of that success, Olcott has a brand new basketball court to offer Krull Park visitors. Thanks to over 21 million online votes, the park received a $50,000 recreation grant from the Coca-Cola Live Positively initiative to build the new court.
The Coca-Cola initiative was aimed to encourage people to support parks by voting online for them. At the end of the six-week contest, Olcott’s Krull Park beat out more than 16,000 others for second place. Pratt Park in Prattville, Ala. was the first place winner, taking home $100,000.
And that was with Newfane getting off to a late start. Horanburg said the town didn’t even know about the contest until 10 days in.
But if Newfane had started collecting votes on time, there was little doubt Olcott would have won, the supervisor said Thursday at a special gathering at Krull Park.
Newfaners and local leaders came out to the park Thursday afternoon to celebrate with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Supervisor Timothy Horanburg said Guido, Vicki Taylor and Stella Wilson deserved the credit, working 12 hours a day to help solicit votes.
”It’s nice to see,” Horanburg said. “It brings the community together. When I drive by, I see kids playing basketball and it’s good. Because they’re not on the street, they’re here.”
For Guido, Taylor and Wilson, the win was exciting. Wilson’s family once lived at and took care of the park.
”It’s exciting,” Guido said.
Krull Park was established in 1937 and covers more than 325 acres. Used year-round, the park includes five softball diamonds, soccer and lacrosse fields, basketball courts, horseshoe pits, two playgrounds, tennis courts, a new splash park and four exercise stations.
And hopefully, there’s more to come, Guido said. Among the ideas is to improve the park’s tennis courts and possibly add something else, such as disc golf.
“There’s as many ideas as there are people who come here,” she said. “We have a lot of plans.”
When talking about the Newfane community’s support, Pat Greco, the director of operations at Coke’s Buffalo bottling plant, borrowed a well-known phrase from television personality Chris Berman when he describes the Buffalo Bills.
”When there is a need, no one circles the wagons like people in this area,” Greco said.
The Coca-Cola win was the second national contest victory for Newfane and Olcott. Olcott Beach was named the World Fishing Network’s Ultimate Fishing Town last year.
Guido was instrumental in that victory, by leading an “Olcott Beach, New York” social network team to help solicit votes.Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241 or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.