Syracuse Residents against beach at Onondaga Lake Syracuse Residents

Syracuse, N.Y. (NCC News) – Onondaga County is considering creating a beach at Onondaga Lake, which would cost $2.8 million. But the price isn’t the main reason locals don’t want the beach. Instead, it’s due to how dirty the lake has been historically.

“I don’t think I would ever swim here after how dirty it is,” said Guenivere Morris. “It’s like the number one dirtiest lake.”

Visitors on Onondaga Lake Park noted how local plants used to pollute the lake. Even now, people have no intentions of swimming in the lake.

Casey Millet, who grew up in Cicero and now lives in East Syracuse said she has never swam in Onondaga Lake, nor does she know anyone who has.

“I’ve seen a lot of memes on Facebook of people saying “if you’re going to get out of the water you’re going to grow an extra toe,” said Millet. “Once I saw a swan here without a foot. The bone was coming out.”

Past experiences, as well as community members talking, has led few people to swim in the lake. 

But according to the county, Onondaga Lake has been cleaned up, with some sections considered swim-able. This is where the beach would be located, on the south end of the lake. According to the county, tests results have shown that the beach would meet state standards. 

The bottom of the lake would be covered with sand. As of now, it is filled with gravel, sand, and shells. 

However, there is no guarantee that the beach would be implemented. First the proposal requires funding and approval from the Onondaga County Legislature, who did not respond to our request for comment. The idea must also be approved by 10 federal, state, and local agencies.

Per, the county said, “that no areas in the northern basin of Onondaga Lake exhibited unacceptable risk to children or adults potentially exposed to sediment by swimming, walking or wading in the lake.”

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