Recreation area completed at Somerset Lake for disabled residents

·2 min read

Once Somerset Lake is refilled with water, disabled residents will be able to experience outdoor recreation on the waterway's shore.

A new outdoor fishing area has recently been built along the lake's shore near Siemon's Lakeview Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center along Gilmour Road in Somerset Township.

A new handicap accessible recreation area was recently completed along Somerset Lake. People involved with project are pictured from left (back row) Jim Moses, Jeff Payne, Bruce Rhodes, Gerald Walker, Don O'Connor, Greg Maust, (front row) Meg Moses, Colleen Dawson, Joe Miller, Pamela Tokar-Ickes, Sandy Cline and Lindsay Pyle.
A new handicap accessible recreation area was recently completed along Somerset Lake. People involved with project are pictured from left (back row) Jim Moses, Jeff Payne, Bruce Rhodes, Gerald Walker, Don O'Connor, Greg Maust, (front row) Meg Moses, Colleen Dawson, Joe Miller, Pamela Tokar-Ickes, Sandy Cline and Lindsay Pyle.

The project started in the spring and was completed about two weeks ago, Somerset County parks and trails director Lindsay Pyle said.

Pyle described herself as "thrilled" with the project.

"This is going to be huge," she said. "It's going to be nice for Siemon's nursing home. It's going to be nice for everybody."

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The lake was drained in 2017 due to a hazardous dam. Since then, the dam has been rebuilt and the lake is currently being refilled.

It is set to be full this summer.

The new recreation area was funded the Somerset Lake Action Committee, or SLAC. SLAC Chairman Jeff Payne said that fundraisers like the committee's Give a "Dam" events raised the cost of the about $22,000 project.

He said that the project was also a community effort, with local organizations chipping in.

"They gave discounts. They donated services basically to make it possible," he said of the local organizations. "This is the county's park. This is the people's park. Just keep developing."

The trail to the new handicap accessible outdoor recreation area at Somerset Lake is shown.
The trail to the new handicap accessible outdoor recreation area at Somerset Lake is shown.

The recreation area includes a pavilion, railing and a nearby island when the lake is filled.

Payne said that although it was built with handicapped residents in mind, anyone can use the area.

"We're hoping it's all going to be used," he said. "Anybody can fish here."

Somerset County Commissioner Pamela Tokar-Ickes said said that the trail leading to the fishing area is graded to the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"We're just excited about the ongoing development here at Somerset Lake," Tokar-Ickes said.

At a gathering Wednesday at the area, Payne thanked those involved with project, who were also in attendance.

"It took everybody's help to get this thing done," he said. "We're getting there. It's a great thing for our community."

Follow Eric Kieta on Twitter @EricKietaDA.

This article originally appeared on The Daily American: New Somerset Lake fishing area accessible for disabled

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