YORKTOWN, NY – Albany officials passed a measure this week adding three more of Yorktown’s local lakes to the State’s Inland Waterway List, but local residents fear the town will do nothing after waiting a year for Supervisor Gilbert to take advantage of similar legislation. In March, Yorktown Supervisor Candidate Matt Slater called on his opponent to initiate the process of forming a Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan for Lake Mohegan. With the State adding three more local lakes to the program Slater is seeking a status report as to Lake Mohegan’s LWRP.
“For the New York State Legislature to designate three more of our local lakes it is obvious lawmakers see great value in having municipalities develop LWRPs for our local waterways,” Slater said. “The State’s deadline for grant applications is July 26th and residents have not been presented with any update from Supervisor Gilbert on Yorktown’s plan to engage in this process for Lake Mohegan which means, once again, this administration is leaving money on the table that could help our local lakes and community.”
Slater served as Chief of Staff to State Senator Terrence Murphy and helping to pass legislation that added Lake Mohegan and Lake Osecola to New York’s Inland Waterway List. In addition, he assisted in passing the original legislationgiving Sparkle Lake, Junior Lake and Mohansic Lake the inland waterway designation. Local residents have raised concerns over the condition of Sparkle Lake on social media calling for Sparkle Lake to get a “makeover.”
This year New York State allocated $15 million to support Local Waterfront Revitalization Plans. According to the 2018 REDC Awards booklet, the program, “…helps communities breathe new life into their waterfront and underused assets in ways that ensure successful and sustainable revitalization.”
In 2018 39 projects received State funding through the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program ranging from water quality improvement, to recreational and park enhancements, to green stormwater improvements, feasibility studies, trailway development and improving public access to waterfront attractions.
In a press release announcing the passage of S.3444, State Senator Pete Harckham stated, “The Citizens Statewide Lake Assessment Program (CSLAP) has noted water quality problems at Spark, Junior and Mohansic Lakes in Westchester County. To protect these important lakes in my district, which are an integral part of the Croton Watershed and our drinking/recreational waterways, these lakes must be designated as inland waterways. This bill will allow the affected communities of Yorktown and Yorktown Heights to become eligible for money from NYCDEP to improve the water quality and protect the watershed.” This was Senator Harckham’s first bill to pass the New York State Senate.
New York State Assemblyman Kevin Byrne cited the bipartisan effort needed to add Sparkle Lake and Junior Lake to the Inland Waterway List. “These lakes are a source of drinking water for the community, and provide various recreational benefits to Yorktown residents. People visit and move to our area because of our green spaces and waterways. It’s crucial that we work together to protect them and revitalize them where possible.”
The legislation is expected to be signed by Governor Cuomo.