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23 Jan 2020

Construction will begin on Onondaga Lake Lounge, seven years after the project was first announced.

Construction will begin on Onondaga Lake Lounge, seven years after the project was first announced.
Conceptual drawing shows what the Lake Lounge, a public access area, might look like at the confluence of Onondaga Creek and Onondaga Lake in Syracuse.

Construction will begin this summer on the Lake Lounge on Onondaga Lake, seven years after the project was first announced.

The lounge, along with some other work this summer, will finally connect the Onondaga Creekwalk to the Onondaga Lake West Shore trail.

The lounge is a 1,350-square-foot deck with tiered seating, located at the end of the Onondaga Creekwalk on the shore of Onondaga Lake. Currently, the space is a swath of pavement that’s slowly begun to erode.

City Planner Owen Kerney offered some details of the project at a Common Council study session Wednesday. The city will front the money for the project, Onondaga County will handle the work and New York State will ultimately pick up the bill.

Onondaga County will pick the contractor and oversee the project, since it fits into the county’s Loop the Lake project. That project aims to have a pedestrian trail that circles the entire lake.


The Onondaga Lake Creekwalk Tuesday, October 8, 2019, closed in Fall of 2018 due to erosion. This summer, the city and county will build a Lake Lounge at this spot and connect the trail to the Western Shore Lake Trail. N. Scott Trimble | strimble@syracuse.comN. Scott Trimble | strimble@syra

Travis Glazer, Onondaga County’s director of environment, construction along the lake this summer will connect the Western Shore Lake Trail to the Creekwalk. Construction on a bridge over the CSX railroad line and another length of trail along the south and western shores should be finished by the end of this year.

By the end of 2020, pedestrians will be able to walk from the Inner Harbor to the New York State Fairgrounds and all the way to Liverpool, around the northern tip of the lake.

The last unfinished piece of the Loop the Lake trail is a two-mile stretch along the Onondaga Lake Parkway. Glazer said the county is working on designs for a trail there. The New York State Department of Transportation is also considering options for altering the parkway. The trail project will likely be included as part of the overall parkway redesign.

There’s no clear timeline for completing that portion of the trail.

“The parkway is currently under consideration by the NYS DOT," Glazer said. "So we’re largely contingent on what happens there...It depends on what their schedule is.”

The Lake Lounge has been in the works since at least 2013. That year, the city received a $720,000 grant from the state to build a public access area on Onondaga Lake.

Designers completed plans for the Lake Lounge, including an overlook deck and tiered seating, in 2015.

In 2018, high waters badly damaged the area where the lounge will be built, eroding some of the shoreline and pavement. Officials said they would repair the damage and build the lounge by the following summer, 2019.

The design for the lounge needed to be altered last year, and that work is just about done, according to Kerney, the city planner.

The Common Council is being asked to approve borrowing $500,000 to pay for the lounge. Onondaga County will be in charge of selecting a builder and overseeing construction. The city will pay the county for the project.

The city will ultimately be reimbursed by New York State’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program for up to $500,000.

The council meets to vote Monday. If approved, construction could begin as early as April.

Read more: Syracuse

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