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Residents Hope To Return Beach To Its Glory Days

Dedicated group is steadily working to improve the once-popular hangout spot.

The beach at Lionshead Lake doesn’t get many visitors nowadays. The water in the lake needs to be cleaned. The floating dock that kids used to swim to in the water sits on the beach.

The lake used to be a popular hangout spot, but interest in the area has waned in recent years. Now it is to the point where people can’t even go into the water because there is so much algae in it.

A group of dedicated residents is trying to breathe new life into the facility.

“There used to be parties here all the time. During the week there’d be as many as 60 kids on the beach some nights,” said Jimmy Oleksy. “This used to be everything to the community. Every family was a member here.”

Olesky is one of dozen residents who belong to the group. They meet to clean up the lake on Saturdays. The group has been working on improving the property since last August. The group meets on Mondays to develop ideas for what they want to see done at the lake.

“We want it to be open and accessible and re-imagine what it can be for the whole community,” said Chris Dubanowitz, president of the Lionshead Lake Property Owners Association.

Dubanowitz said that fewer and fewer of the area's 600 families are paying the optional $50 annual fee to use the lake. The lake flows out of the Point View Reservoir and along Lionshead Drive West before joining up with Pines Lake.

"We're not here to make money. That's not what this is about," Dubanowitz said. "We want people to know that they have a stake in this place. It's theirs to use if they want to."

The residents have started a Facebook group to get input from residents, exchange ideas, and foster interest in the area. The group is also creating a Web site.

The group wants to purchase new benches, install a new fire pit, and get some new sand for the beach. New swings and other playground equipment might be installed on a grassy area away from the beach. Residents also want to dredge the lake at some point. The group has already painted much of the old clubhouse.

The group spent about $8,000 in taxes, insurance, utilities, and water treatment last year.

“We’re trying to do the best we can with what we have, but we’re only volunteers,” Dubanowitz said.

Oleksy said that members of the group got involved because they know that if the lake closes for good, it could adversely affect nearby residents’ property values.

The group is planning to host potluck barbecue at the beach later on this month as a way of reintroducing the area to the community.

“We want to turn this into a community center, but we need help,” Dubanowtiz said. “We can’t do it by ourselves.”

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Daniel Hubbard at Daniel.Hubbard@patch.com or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Tom Troncone (Editor) June 06, 2012 at 03:50 AM
Thank you, oh copy editors of Wayne :) Made the changes, but not without a chuckle.
Rob Burke June 06, 2012 at 12:05 PM
Hey Tom, I never heard back for you regarding your wholesale deletion of half a story about me a month or so ago. No reply, no apology. Just silence. I don't get it, Tom.
George June 06, 2012 at 12:16 PM
I give this guy Chris credit for taking charge and hopefully the residents of Lionshead (of which I am not) appreciate and recognize the value that these improvements will add to the value of all the homes in that community and join in. Seems to me $50 is not much of an investment if to produce , if nothing else, something nice to look at.
Paulette B June 06, 2012 at 01:30 PM
i grew up in Lionshead lake in 70-80s and spent every summer day at the lake with friends making awesome memories. Thanks to Chris and all the people taking part in getting the lake back to a place that people can come to and make their own memories. Good Luck - PS: My parents still live in "the lake" and paid their $50 - after not participating in years. They are thankful as well!
Cathy Kazan June 06, 2012 at 01:36 PM
Good luck to the residents trying to improve their local lake community. Love it when neighbors come together for the common good. I sometimes think Wayne is too big for that, but stories like this remind me that it can be done one neighborhood at a time.
Tom Troncone (Editor) June 06, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Rob, that's simply not true. We had a fairly detailed off-line email conversation about it, did we not?
Claire Furber June 06, 2012 at 05:06 PM
I want to thank Dan Hubbard for spending the time with us on Saturday and for writing a great article for us. It is much appreciated by the group. I am one of the residents that goes to the weekly Monday meetings (at 7:00pm) and clean ups on Saturdays, and I'd love to see more people help out. Even if you can't make it to a meeting or on a Saturday we'd love to have you come down anytime to help us with all the work that still needs to be done, even if you only have an hour of time there is always something for you to do.
Claire Furber June 06, 2012 at 05:07 PM
Thank you Cathy. :)
Jacqueline Pisatowski June 07, 2012 at 03:15 AM
A small core of people are responsible for meeting every week in attempt to collect membership and volunteering their physical labor to beautify the Lake. The article forgot to mention the following people who would love for more people to help out. Many thanks to Chris Dubanowitz and his wife Jeaninne, Claire Furber, Laurie Palattucci, Jim Olesky, Jack Ciccarella and Joseph Bubba Jr.
Jacqueline Pisatowski June 07, 2012 at 03:17 AM
Thanks Cathy for recognizing us!!!
Nose Wayne June 07, 2012 at 12:22 PM
The Township dredges out Packanack Lake every couple of years by the "PEN". Why can't they do it for Lionshead Lake? OH, I FORGOT!! The MAYOR doesn't live there!!
Rob Burke June 07, 2012 at 01:10 PM
Tom, you abandoned the conversation and you have yet to explain why you deleted half a story that was based on your reporters investigation and interviews. Sorry Tom, that you didn't believe me isn't a good reason to kill an already published story. Especially when you were wrong, and it's been proved that you were wrong. I'd be embarrassed and apologetic if I did what you did. You evidently aren't. But that's your problem, not mine.
Warren June 08, 2012 at 10:59 PM
Nose, Don't get your "nose" out of joint. Rather than sitting in front of your computer, in your underwear all day ,and commenting on every story, why don't you get down to the lake and help out?
Joe Bubba, Jr. June 11, 2012 at 01:18 AM
Jackie: You forgot yourself. You designed and operate our communication system, always sell the most raffle tickets and never miss a meeting (7PM on Mondays). More over I have reviewed you solo voyage to the Center of LIonshead Lake and encourage everyone to view the following link on YOUTube http://youtu.be/vZdoKDk8OZs
Claire Furber June 11, 2012 at 01:37 PM
This weekend was a milestone one: Jim was able to fix the fountain and its back up and running! What a nice sight to see: http://youtu.be/x760zkPgi0U
Wayne's World June 11, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Nose, the pun was funny the first 250 times but it's wearing thin. Please. Stop. It's. Played. Out.
Coco July 31, 2012 at 02:54 PM
The lake is never going to make a come back unless action is taken to make dues mandatory. This can be done as houses are sold and new owners take over. In addition, the lake was in much better shape two years back. We still had parties and the beach was open. This new committee has no idea of how to do fund raisers. Nor will they listen to experience. It's such a shame.
Claire Furber August 01, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Coco I agree with you on the dues mandatory, we are hoping to make that happen one day, although its not an easy process to implement. Please come to our meetings (every Monday at 7:00pm at the lake) we are very open to any help and advice and would love to have you join us and help with fundraising and the cleaning of the lake area, we welcome everyone, like in the past there's never enough help. Unfortunately the experienced people are understandably burned out (its a lot of work on a few people) and don't want to have much to do with the lake anymore and those of us that are trying to do what we can are all newbies, so we are learning as we go along. We had the beach open a while ago, but unfortunately teenagers were hanging out, disturbing the nearby neighbors, causing damage to the docks and leaving a lot of garbage behind, so unfortunately until there are more volunteers we have to lock the gates again. We had a hotdog/marshmallow party on July 21st and used the new barbecue pit that was built by the boy scouts recently. We have a pig roast/fishing competition coming up on August 18th. We always have activities listed on the sign out in front of the beach. Coco please come to the weekly meetings, Monday at 7:00, give us your ideas in person, I would love to meet you. I promise we listen to everyone.and welcome anyone to join and help out. There are so many nice people in Lionshead Lake that's why I love living here.
Kathy August 02, 2012 at 09:51 PM
Hi Coco, The new committee has only been working on saving the lake for a little less than a year, so I have to give them credit for all they've done in such a short time. Pretty soon the new elections are coming up, so why don't you go out to be one of the officers or head the fundraising committee? Its easy to give out comments but how about doing something about it. The person that was the head of the fundraising for many years is currently unable to help out due to personal obligations so that position is open if you're interested.
Jacqueline Pisatowski August 05, 2012 at 04:18 AM
Coco - I love how people like you complain about the Lake and never do anything about it. A handful of people volunteer every week to improve the lakefront. Why not put your criticism to action and come help out???
Coco August 06, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Kathy & Jacqueline - You don't know me but I have been to many lake activities over the last 30 years. However, none of your recent activities are of interest. My sister and her husband have lived there for over 30 years. They have always paid the dues and dedicated time. I know for a fact that they have presented ideas to both your committee and the current president. It's sad that no action has been taken on any of their suggestions. You need to do activities not only for families but also the 50+ empty nester crowd.
michele priolo August 09, 2012 at 03:23 AM
I lived in Lionshead Lake from 1969-1974. It was the place to be. You literally lived in your bathing suit all summer long. From when you woke up and went down to the lake for swimming lessons, until 6:00 pm, when they locked the gates for the night. There was never any issues with teenagers on the beach at night. I lived right behind the beach. I would walk through my backyard to go to the beach. We had to wear beach tags and the lifeguards would check them. It was so much fun. I recently returned to the area to see my old house and see the lake. Boy was I saddened! What a terrible sight to see. I certainly hope the residents come together and bring this back to its heyday. I do think the dues should be mandatory. I do commend those that are volunteering their time to restore this beautiful lake to its glory. Sincerely Michele Priolo
Flood Plain August 20, 2012 at 05:23 PM
I used to live at Packanack Lake in the 50's and 60's, and like you, recently returned to see my old house and the "Lake. " I found the lake's water to be in pretty bad shape. It seems like they needed to drain it completely, dredge it to open new springs and increase water flow, and then allow it to refill and restock it with fish and plants that would support fish life. I can't believe that people pay premium prices for living at PL when the lake is so poor as a natural resource.
packamom August 20, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Have you talked to anyone in Packanack? They made dues here manditory about 15 years ago. People complained, but they also paid up. $50 is a bargain as far as dues. A family of 4 living here in Packanack pays about $550 and that does not include beach badges! We have an annual block party as a fundraiser for the sporting activities, but you could use the funds in other ways. I know that this one fundraiser typically makes a few thousand dollars. Best of luck with what you are trying to achieve!
Frank Gallagher August 20, 2012 at 07:16 PM
There are something like 2300 homes within the Packanack community, but only about 1500 member homes, so that doesn't sound "manditory" to me. Membership and dues are, of course, voluntary. If you want to help your neighbors pay the property taxes and maintain the parks and buildings, then you agree to chip in about $10 per week.
leanbean August 20, 2012 at 07:23 PM
@Nose, The township dredges in front of the drain pipes that go into the lake. Only because PL took them to court. So there doing it under a court agreement from about 30 years ago.
packamom August 21, 2012 at 11:30 AM
Frank-in Packanack if you don't pay your annual dues they are passed on to the new homeowner when you sell your house. They can either pay them or deduct the back dues from the asking price of the house. Believe me, it's manditory. Some people just choose to not deal with it till they sell their house.

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