Water is back in Como Lake after two months of massive cleanup

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LANCASTER, N.Y. (WIVB) — The water in Como Lake, in Lancaster, is back. Over the past two months, crews dug debris out of the lake, including silt, tires, frisbees and more. The cleanup began on August 5 and is just about complete.

“Back in my day, in the late 70’s and 80’s, this park was crammed from Friday afternoon, to Sunday evening close time,” Erie County Legislator John Bruso said.

Legislator Bruso grew up coming to Lake Como Park in Lancaster, and said the lake in the park is finally back to its glory days.

Before the cleanup, there was an island of debris in the middle of the lake, with grass growing atop it. The dam at the lake was stopping all the soot and silt from going anywhere.

“The dam is designed to stop the silt from moving down the river and obstructing the fish and the sturgeon,” Bruso said.

That silt hadn’t been cleaned out in decades. And if it weren’t for a local resident named Frank Maddock, it could have gone another several decades before it was touched.

“It wasn’t long after the election that my phone rang, and he said, ‘John, this is Frank Maddock, you don’t know me, but…”

Frank brought it to John’s attention that this work needed to be done, and John made it happen. The project cost nearly $460,000. Crews dredged out the lake and the channels leading to it. They added rock to stabilize the banks as well. Those crews cleaned out tires, frisbees and other garbage found in the silt, and then used the dirt to build a new sledding hill for families in the winter.

The name of that new area is the Frank Maddock Sled Hill.

“The park is becoming a destination place,” Bruso said. “That’s what we want it to be.”

All the work was done by Erie County highway crews. A local business called CaHill Resources trained them how to do everything, and offered up their large machinery to get the work done. Bruso said using Erie County crews, instead of contracting the work out, saved the county about $1.5 million.

The Frank Maddock Sled Hill won’t be complete for use this winter. Crews will finish that work come Spring.

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