By Ted B. Morton
Como Lake Park in Lancaster has long been considered the crown jewel of the Erie County parks system. Unfortunately the conditions of the lake have been neglected by county officials. With a dam holding back the lake near the park’s iconic lighthouse, sediment builds up over time and the lake needs to be periodically dredged.
To date, the lake is past due for dredging and if you drive down Lake Avenue in Lancaster you would barely realize a lake existed there. With the heavy buildup and long neglect of the park, sizable “islands” of debris have formed and lake is quickly disappearing into a swamp. The dredging for the park has long been overdue.
Along with residents and my fellow elected officials in Lancaster, I have been pushing the County Parks Department to make this a priority.
Unfortunately, at a recent Erie County Capital Projects Committee meeting, the Parks Department ranked the dredging of Como Lake, along with Akron Falls, as number six on its priority list. Even more distressing, I was appalled when the county’s budget director expressed support for removing the dam and allowing the lake to become a creek, as opposed to restoring the lake to its original beauty.
After hearing this suggestion, I attended the Village of Lancaster’s board meeting to update the community on this proposal and as I expected, board members and residents alike were disgusted at the idea of turning the lake into a creek. I stand with the hundreds of residents who signed the petition urging the county to restore the lake – a grassroots effort that was led by two community leaders.
Como Lake Park is a source of pride for our community and dredging the lake is wise investment. Removing the dam and turning the lake into a creek is something I strongly oppose.
I am very much a champion of being fiscally responsible and stopping wasteful spending. This debate comes at a time when the county executive is calling for spending taxpayer dollars on frivolous studies.
This money could be well spent to restore the lake that residents enjoy throughout the year.
I recently wrote a letter to the county executive requesting that he listen to our constituents who are demanding the lake be restored and to work with me and the Legislature to ensure the lake is dredged as soon as possible.
Removing the dam and turning the lake into a creek is something residents clearly do not want.
The county executive has routinely remarked that fixing our parks is a priority for him.
If that is true I urge the county executive to work with me to restore Como Lake Park to its former glory.
Legislator Ted B. Morton, R-Depew, represents District 8 in the Erie County Legislature.