The Post Journal Missed the Mark on Lakewood’s Lowe Park Project

The editorial, printed in The Post Journal on February 6, 2019,
was chock full of misinformation and void of important facts. While the Lowe Park Project certainly won’t solve all the lake’s weed and algae problems, it’s a great start and can segue to other important projects with the ultimate goal of fixing Chautauqua Lake.

Lowe Park sign on the vacant lot

The editorial, printed in The Post Journal on February 6, 2019,
was chock full of misinformation and void of important facts. (http://www.post-journal.com/opinion/in-our-opinion/2019/02/lakewood-park-project-wouldnt-solve-weed-algae-issues-in-lake/ )

    •  The $255,951 grant for Lowe Park was awarded to the Village of Lakewood by the Department of State’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program and was the result of a highly competitive grant process. This “magic money” referred to in the editorial, could have easily been directed somewhere else in the state instead of Lakewood. Clearly the project has merit in the eyes of state experts and is widely supported at the Chautauqua County level. The total project cost as proposed would be $341,269. After the 75% NYS grant, matching grants, and in-kind work performed by Lakewood’s DPW, the net cost to Lakewood would be $25,739, payable in installments over 5 years.

 

    • According to the 2018 Stormwater Management Engineering Study Report done by the independent firm of Barton & Loguidice, D.P.C, 47.3 lbs. of phosphorus will be prevented from entering the lake as a result of the Lowe Park Stormwater Management Project. The rule of thumb is that  1 lb of phosphorus will fertilize 1,100 lbs of weeds and algae. Accordingly, 48,070 lbs of weed/algae growth will be prevented. This is hardly inconsequential. In addition, 16.4 tons of sediment and debris will be captured and prevented from entering the lake.

 

    • It is well known that reducing the flow of sediments and nutrients into the lake is fundamental to “fixing” the lake. Kudos to those who have vision and understand we need to start somewhere…and that herbicides are also not a silver bullet. They address symptoms, not the cause. Ultimately, long term solutions to the Lake’s problems will require many projects similar to Lowe Park. In addition, if the grant is declined, this may negatively impact the Village of Lakewood attaining others from NYS.

 

    • It is also important to note that Lowe Park was donated to Lakewood by the Lowe Family decades ago with the intent that it be a place where residents could have access to and enjoy the lake. As it stands now, it is little more than a conduit for sediments and nutrients to enter the lake through a large storm drain under a vacant lot…hardly what the Lowe’s envisioned with their gift. The Lowe Park project, if completed, will provide pedestrians, bicyclists, and anyone wishing to visit, with a scenic place to enjoy the lake. Of note, plantings and rain gardens are integral parts of the proposed infrastructure used to mitigate sediment and nutrient flow into the lake, and are NOT just used for scenery. As for other proposed structures on the premises, (pavilions, etc.) they would be determined in the project’s design phase after the grant is accepted. Only 20% of the plan for the park was completed for the grant application. The Lakewood community will have an opportunity to weigh in on the final design.

Our lake’s problems are serious and will require many initiatives, with the state, county, towns, villages and lake related organizations, as well as residents, all working together to fix the lake. While the Lowe Park Project certainly won’t solve all the lake’s weed and algae problems, it’s a great start and can segue to other important projects that will benefit Chautauqua Lake.

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