The dam and lake were made in the mid 1800s. The original purpose was to function as a water source for the Erie Canal. Hardly any work had been done on the dam since its creation and therefore the structure was high on the New York State Canal Corporation’s list for repairs. The dam was classified as a “high hazard.”
In order to complete the project, the lake had to be lowered by 10 feet. And residents were not happy when news of the project broke.
“At first it was pretty crazy, got a lot of phone calls, a lot of texts of panic mode,” said Kathy Sherlock, the president of the DeRuyter Lake Association.
The lake is looking very empty at this point. The shoreline now resembles rocky beaches and tons of mud.
“It is what it is,” Sherlock said.
Sherlock said that without dam repairs, there could eventually be no more lake.
While many residents are nervous about the lake filling up for the summer, others are making the best of the situation.
“It doesn’t bother me at all. It’s actually kind of fun to see what the terrain is underneath the ten feet that we’ve been drawn down. So its been really intriguing to see where the high spots are, the low spots are, and the places that I’m going to ruin a prop on my boat next year,” said Tom Chartrand, a year round resident.
Chartrand said he’s enjoyed watching the progress. He also enjoys having a beach to walk along for a change.
“I just love living here. Its the best place on earth to live, and just very happy,” Chartrand said.
The project does appear to be ahead of schedule. Residents and local lake goers are hoping for a wet spring to bring lake levels back up quickly.