Residents petition against a proposal for a brewery at Knox Farm State Park

EAST AURORA, N.Y. (WIVB) — Hundreds of East Aurora residents are speaking out against a plan that would establish a brewery/distillery on over 80 acres of land in Knox Farm State Park.

State Park officials issued a formal request for proposal (RFP) to solicit potential partnerships, but only received one proposal.

The proposal came from the Ciolek family. The family tells News 4, the McKenzie’s Hard Cider brand is not associated with this project.

Still, this has residents petitioning against the proposal. Over 870 citizens signed the petition.

“I don’t like the idea of my land, the public’s land being used while one guy has his brewery when everyone else who has had a brewery has had to buy their land, rent or whatever they had to do with it,” said Rick Ohler, resident.

Some residents say they feel the state has left them in the dark. They say the feeling is all too familiar after officials wanted to close the park several years ago.

“It seems like now we have to save the park again from New York state, and we are nervous they don’t have our best interest at heart,” said Ohler.

In a written statement, State Park officials said:

“State Parks is interested in revitalizing the historic barns and encouraging equestrian or farm-based activities at Knox Farm State Park. We are currently reviewing next steps. No decisions have been made. No park structures or land will be sold.”

The petition against this proposal will be submitted to at least 12 state and local officials. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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