Residents Advocate for Town of Somers to Acquire Shenorock
The group Concerned Shenorock Residents (CSR) has sent out an open letter to the community urging the town to take on the responsibility of Lake Shenorock and the property owned by the United Owners Association (UOA).
“Our Supervisor [Mary Beth Murphy] made a resolution back in 2009 if you recall that stated if the UOA could not receive any grants for this property it would forever become a municipal park,” Linda Luciano, a Shenorock resident, said. “She’s refusing to do it even though she has spent the entire town’s tax ($123,000) money on studies for it.”
The two-page letter that was sent out to the community advocates for the town to take action. It letter states, “Ideally, we’d like to see the lake taken over by the town as a town park. At the very least, the town should foreclose on these properties (UOA properties), disengaging them from the politics of the UOA and taking the property out of private hands, which would make it possible for some future community group to apply for grants.”
“Linda’s comment ‘if the UOA could not receive any grants for this property it would forever become a municipal park” overlooks the explanation from Mary Beth Murphy which was that the UOA did not apply for a grant as it would have been unable to obtain the grant given that it is a private organization. The ‘resolution’ was therefore moot,” said Patrick Hogan a proponent of creating a Shenorock park district that would rehabilitate Lake Shenorock and create a community beach.
The CSR is against the formation of a park district as a taxing entity.
Hogan admits if the town took ownership of the properties, “it would, of course be ideal.” However he noted, “The town has shown no inclination to take the properties.”
“The Shenorock community and its wellbeing has long been an important focus for the town,” Murphy said. “It is unfortunate that the Concerned Shenorock Residents group did not express their thoughts earlier in the process but their input has been valuable now and many sound thoughts have come from it.”
Murphy listed the formation of the water district and standing against the formation of a multifamily housing project in the Shenorock community as well as applying for East of Hudson Water Quality Improvement funds to address septic issues around Lake Shenorock, as examples of the town supporting the residents.
“I listened and tried to respond to residents wishes regarding the lake, participated in numerous meeting over a period of years where residents expressed positive interest in a park district and I insisted that the entire community be aware of the park district proposal,” she stated.
While she acknowledged wanting to “provide for improved quality of life for Shenorock and all its residents,” Murphy added, “The town is not compelled to foreclose on a property that has unpaid taxes.”
Murphy has said in past public meetings that she did not believe that the town taking over the parcels in question would be in the best interest of the town or the residents of Shenorock.
In April the town board decided not to further support a park district petition and instead urged the residents to come together and work toward finding a solution as a community.
Lake Shenorock was used for swimming for decades until it was banned in 1977 when the lake was made a drinking source. The lake is no longer a source of drinking water for residents.
Adam has worked in the local news industry for the past two decades in Westchester County and the broader Hudson Valley. Read more from Adam’s author bio here.