Murphy: Lake Shenorock Can be Returned to Former Glory

Residents join state, county and town officials for a press conference at Lake Shenorock. Credits: Gabrielle Bilik

SHENOROCK, N.Y. - Decades ago, Lake Shenorock used to be a hub for Somers social activities. Longtime resident Thelma Barlow remembers when her sons would swim during the summers and ice skate during the winters. Now, the lake is not fit for either, she said.

“It used to be clean and clear,” Barlow said. “The united owners used to have some great times at the lake.”

Barlow said the homeowners who lived around the lake used to also have volunteers who cleaned litter and debris, along with other maintenence. With the disipation of the association, the number of volunteers sharply declined. It is now up to the town to get the lake cleaned up.

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State Sen. Terrence Murphy would like to see the town request funding to do so. As an elected official, Murphy said he can go only so far toward designating the lake an inland waterway, making it eligible for certain state funds; however, it is up to the municipalities to actually apply for it. With the designation official, Murphy said, step one is complete.

“By adding Lake Shenorock to the state’s Inland Waterway’s list, the town of Somers is now eligible to go through the local waterfront revitalization planning process,” Murphy said. “There has been $300 million made available this year through the New York State Environmental Protection Fund for waterways projects. With part of that money going to revitalize Lake Shenorock, Somers can help improve quality of life for its lake community and attract more visitors to the area.”

Town Councilman Anthony Cirieco said cleaning up the lake could create value for the town. And if Somers receives state funding under the Inland Waterways Bill, the town can do the cleanup without raising taxes.

“We’re always looking for ways to improve our quality of life without raising taxes,” he said.

Water Superintendent Adam Smith has been in Somers for many years and has also witnessed the lake’s quality decline. He supports the designation and hopes the town can request the funds.

“I’ve been here 30 years now,” Smith said. “This was a vital lake community at one time. We used to use it as a source of water. I’d like to see the quality of the lake restored.”

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