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County plan to clean up Ontario Beach
Charlotte, N.Y. - If you've lived in the Rochester area long enough, you know there have been days when access to the beach is closed due to algae levels.
It's a scene the Greaves family is familiar with.
"We were obviously not going to be in there for that reason," said beachgoer Rachel Greaves.
"It's kind of disappointing because we take the time to come up and bring the kids out and all of a sudden we get here and we can't go in," beachgoer Rob Greaves said.
Last summer was an exceptionally rough year for beachgoers.
According to Monroe County statistics, Ontario Beach was closed for 57% of the summer season due to high algae levels.
So far this year, the beach has been forced to close twice.
Monroe County hopes to reduce the number of days the beach closes with a new algae removal project.
The plan was first recommended by the Army Corps of Engineers in 2011, but the county couldn't afford the project then.
A grant is paying for the $400,000 project now.
The project requires permanent features that will be built into the structure of the pier.
Pipes will essentially vacuum algae and funnel it through the pipes, releasing it back into Lake Ontario, away from the pier and swimming areas.
"This beach each and every summer, especially on a day like this is a destination for individuals, for families, for seniors. It really is a focal point for summer activity in Rochester and Monroe County, however, for residents to really enjoy all this park has to offer, we need to overcome one simple thing we've been struggling with each and every year, "said Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks. "How do we keep the beach open as many days open in the summer?"
The goal is to enhance the quality of life along the beach.
"Hopefully with what they're working on we'll be able to come anytime we want and not have to worry about it. It will be great for the kids and great for all the business out there too," said Greaves.
"To me, they need to clean it up so that we can enjoy it more, beachgoer Daisy Loving-Gordon said." "It should never be closed."
Construction to put together the equipment for the project starts now and is expected to take four weeks to complete.
During construction, the county says the public will have access to the pier and beach area unless there is a safety concern.
The algae removal process will start next month.
The county says the process will be ongoing through the summer months for the foreseeable future.