By Ethan Kibbe
ERIE, Pa. (Erie News Now) – A sun-soaked day at Waldameer and Water World served as a perfect holiday for Al Pettinato and his son.
It’s beautiful,: he said. “It’s the best place to come. People are sociable. They’re happy. They’re having fun. The kids are having fun. It’s great.
It’s a welcome sight for Park President Steve Gorman, who’s dealt with shutdowns, shortages and restrictions for more than two years.
“Those last two years were very, very challenging and difficult,” he said. “It’s so much of a relief to start the season in good shape.”
After struggling to find workers, the park raised its wages, and it’s now almost fully staffed.
That’s a far cry from a year ago, and it’s a huge relief for Gorman.
“Instead of trying to decide what to close because we can’t staff everything, now, it’s just like ‘Make sure everything is working properly and people know how to do their jobs,'” he said.
A return toward normalcy couldn’t come at a better time.
As inflation hammers local families, nearby attractions become increasingly popular.
“The way the gas prices are, you can’t go anywhere,” Pettinato said. “My son and I come here two or three times a week and enjoy everything.”
But it’s not all smooth sailing for the park.
It’s dealing with inflation too, but on a day like this, Gorman says it’s best to focus on the positives.
“All of our operating expenses will be up. Food. Supplies. It will be challenging,” he said. “But I think that we have a good product, and I think that people will come, and we’ll be OK.”