WAYNE LAKES — Village of Wayne Lakes Council member Joan Falknor is finishing up last minute details in opening the new concession stand at the Wayne Lakes Beach, in Greenville.
She is awaiting the last of the inspections from the Darke County Health Department on the new and improved cooking area. The old concession stand was grandfathered in with the old rules, until a hallway was removed to expand the area. To conform to the new rules, the village had to put in commercial appliances, vents, a grease trap, a hood, a new roof and handicap accessible restrooms.
“Gary [Lee Young the late Mayor] said if we are going to do this, we are going to offer a lot of food,” Falknor said. “It was an outrageous amount of money – about $60,000, some of which came from grants. I had to attend a training to serve food and it was very intense. “
The concession stand now serves packaged food but any day now will sell hand-dipped ice cream, pizza, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, pork tenderloins, tacos, barbecues, french fries and battered deep-fried veggies. Walking around the beach, Falknor points out everything Young did – the whale, the chairs, the slide, the observation deck – Gary is all over the beach, she said. Preparing for the beach opening is a big ordeal, involving hard work from volunteers. The spring – fed water is tested several times a year and passes with flying colors Falknor said. The sand is maintained and cleaned, equipment is checked for repairs and the beach is landscaped. According to Falknor, beach admission was once about $4.
“Kids today have electronics, cell phones and television and our crowds were dwindling,” she said. “Many times there was only one family at the beach. We can’t afford to pay a lifeguard, a concession worker and the electricity and everything it takes to sustain the beach.”
A former council member at the time suggested to change the beach admission to free and to try to make money on the concession stand.
“That was a pretty radical idea,” Falknor said. “It was so shocking. How will we make it? But then we were booming! We had to hire more lifeguards. We are the only beach likes this for miles around and are really growing. Our busiest day so far this year was 242 people. Yesterday, we had three guys from Dayton that posted a picture to Snapchat to let everyone know they were here. “
In order for kids to swim in the deep end, they have to pass a swimming test administered by a lifeguard that swims with them. In addition to swimming, guests enjoy: volleyball, bocce ball, corn hole, horse shoes, fishing and boats are available to rent for $5 an hour. The beach is open 1 – 7 p.m. daily, admission is $1. When the concession stand passes inspection it will open at noon for lunch. Ashley Grant and her cousin Dustin just started working at the beach a couple weeks ago.
“We love Joan,” Ashley said. “She is so nice and kind and we love the kids.”
Ashley, 26, has been hanging out at the beach for years. She said it is a great place to go, lay out and get some sun.
“It is special because it is a nice clean lake,” she said. “We have lifeguards watching and it is just a beautiful place. We also hide seashells for the kids to find. They come up and show us, ‘Look what I found!’ I already know the kids’ names who come everyday. We treat them like we love them. “
Wayne Lakes Beach is located at 1180 Main Drive, in Greenville. For more information, call the beach concession stand at 937-547-1033.
The writer may be reached at 937-569-4354. Join the conversation and get updates on Facebook search Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.
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