Long-time tourism and planning official retires with praise

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 December 2014 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers – Wayne Hale, left, receives a special recognition citation from Orleans County Legislator John DeFilipps on Wednesday.

ALBION – Wayne Hale is retiring after a 31-year career with the county government, leading the Planning Department and also serving as tourism director and Marine Park manager.

He was praised by the Orleans County Legislature on Wednesday for serving in multiple roles. Hale postponed his retirement to stay on in a part-time role in recent years.

Hale stepped up to manage the Marine Park in the late 1990s. The site was largely underutilized but quickly had nearly all of its 80 boating slips rented and became a popular spot for concerts and picnickers.

He said he is most proud of the Marine Park and the $350,000 in grant funds directed to upgrade the site. (Another state grant is expected to be announced for the park today.)

The county also has worked to improve public fishing access and promote local events and attractions, Hale said.

Hale thanked the county legislators and chief administrative officers for their support over the years. He also praised Jim Bensley, the county’s senior planner for 25 years, and Mike Waterhouse, the sportsfishing tourism coordinator.

Hale the past two years took on a leadership role for the southshore lake counties, leading the effort to develop a dredging plan for about 20 harbors.

Hale’s willingness to delay his retirement gave the county a chance to transition to a new approach for tourism services. Waterhouse will continue as sportsfishing coordinator at a cost not to exceed $19,070 in 2015.

The county hired Lynne Menz of Kent for tourism coordination services at a cost not to exceed $13,000 for 2015. She will focus on the non-fishing side of tourism, working with businesses and organizations. She already had been working with Hale on the county’s tourism web site.

She is active with the Oak Orchard Neighborhood Association and the Medina Sandstone Society.

The county also approved an agreement with Corporate Communications, Inc. in Rochester for $12,000 for 2015. The company will administer state tourism dollars through the I Love NY program and also work with the tourism web site.