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Work will begin early next year on a $600,000 project to dredge Red House Lake at Allegany State Park and rehabilitate the dam, which was built in 1929.

The project and its funding, through the Clean Water/Air Bond Act, were announced at the park Saturday by state Parks Commissioner Bernadette Castro.

Gov. Pataki also approved $1.5 million for projects in several counties across the Southern Tier.

In addition to dredging the 120-acre lake, the dam will be updated and a nearby picturesque bridge and walkway will be refurbished. Sediments haven't been removed from the lake bottom and shoreline in almost 40 years.

"This is a beautiful man-made lake that has been very popular for swimming, boating and fishing since constructed in 1929," Castro said. "The improvements will ensure the continual use of the lake for recreational purposes well into the 21st century."

An estimated 1.2 million people visit the park each year.

The commissioner also announced two other Cattaraugus County projects -- both in the Town of Coldspring.

The state Environmental Protection Fund will provide $15,846 toward a $31,692 project to construct a highway salt storage building to prevent contamination of ground water and nearby Coldspring Creek. The bond act also will provide $10,000 toward a $20,000 project to replace playground equipment, picnic tables and benches at an outside pavilion.

Also, the Village of Wellsville will receive $55,000 from the bond act toward a $110,000 project to rehabilitate the former Wellsville-Addison-Galeton Railroad bridge over the Genesee River.

The bridge will serve as a connector betwen two municipal recreation areas which soon will be the beginning site for a river-walk trail, a state and county project.

In Chautauqua County, $78,000 will go for waterfront revitalization projects in the villages of Fredonia and Silver Creek.

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