Once Lake Somerset is filled with water, residents with disabilities can enjoy outdoor recreation on the shores of the waterway.
A new open-air fishing area has recently been constructed along the lake shore near Lakeview Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Siemon along Gilmour Road in Somerset Township.
The project started in the spring and ended about two weeks ago, said Somerset County Parks and Trails Director Lindsay Pyle.
Pyle described herself as “excited” about the project.
âIt’s going to be huge,â she said. “It’s going to be good for Siemon’s nursing home. It’s going to be good for everyone.”
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The lake was emptied in 2017 due to a dangerous dam. The dam has since been rebuilt and the lake is currently being filled.
It should be full this summer.
The new recreation area was funded by the Somerset Lake Action Committee, or SLAC. SLAC President Jeff Payne said fundraisers like the committee’s Give a “Dam” events increased the cost of the project by approximately $ 22,000.
He said the project was also a community effort, with the participation of local organizations.
“They gave discounts. They offered services basically to make that possible,” he said of local organizations. “This is the county park. This is the people’s park. Keep developing.”
The recreation area features a pavilion, railing, and nearby island when the lake is full.
Payne said that although it was built with residents with disabilities in mind, anyone can use the area.
“We hope that everything will be used,” he said. “Anyone can fish here.”
Somerset County Commissioner Pamela Tokar-Ickes said the trail to the fishing area meets Americans with Disabilities Act standards.
âWe are just excited about the development going on here in Somerset Lake,â said Tokar-Ickes.
At a rally in the area on Wednesday, Payne thanked those involved in the project, who were also in attendance.
âIt took everyone’s help to do this thing,â he said. “We’re getting there. It’s a good thing for our community.”
Follow Eric Kieta on Twitter @EricKietaDA.