LAKEWOOD — Lakewood Beach at Richard O. Hartley Park will officially remain closed for the 2022 summer season due to a lack of lifeguards
Even though people cannot swim at the beach, the park and beach house will remain open.
“It’s just a shame,” Trustee Nancy Jones said. “There are no public beaches on Lake Chautauqua.”
The lack of certified lifeguards is not just a problem in Lakewood and Chautauqua County. “It’s a nationwide problem,” Trustee Ellen Barnes said.
Lakewood Beach had been set to reopen with a lifeguard today with operating hours Wednesdays through Sundays. Mayor Randy Holcomb said four people expressed interest in being lifeguards, though only one person was able to do the job.
The village board unanimously approved the closing at a meeting Monday.
Barnes said “No Swimming” signs will be installed; she noted that the public will still be allowed to walk on the sand but not enter the water.
Meanwhile, the board is still exploring options for alternative uses for the beach area.
Holcomb previously noted that any potential upgrade or re-use of the beach that would make it more accessible to the public comes as the park is set to receive a major update. A “state-of-the-art” playground is scheduled to be installed at the park along with landscaping improvements.
With a new playground coming in, the mayor said previously, now is the ideal time to review options for the beach. He did note that any change would not impact the nearby beach house which, in addition to its current uses, is also utilized by the Chautauqua Lake Yacht Club for its sailing club. The mayor also said the regularly-used tennis courts will remain in place at the park.
In other business, the board received a petition from a village property owner who is seeking to remedy alleged village violations.
Chase Darling spoke to the board about preserving the neighborhood in which he owns property on Pennsylvania and Ohio avenues. Darling said while trying to update one of his properties, he was burglarized.
“Over the last 18 months, I’ve been burglarized more than six times, copper, plumbing and electrical have been stripped from the building causing more than $25,000 in damage,” Darling said.
Darling also said he has witnessed alleged domestic disputes, drug use, drug deals, motor vehicle speeding, use of profanity, disregard for village leash laws, noise violations, and village building code violations.
Darling said the complaints stem from residences on Ohio Avenue.
The board took no action, but the board will consult with the village attorney about alleged zoning code violations, and whether the properties were in violation of any codes prior to an update on the village zoning laws. The board also will research other alleged violations.