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Credit: City of Rochester

Credit: City of Rochester

The city is about to spend nearly $1 million to make water quality improvements to Durand-Eastman Beach.

For years, people swam at Durand even though it was not legal. There was the occasional drowning. Recognizing that people were in the water anyway, Mayor Bob Duffy created a legal swimming area with lifeguards in 2006. The beach attracts more than 100,000 visitors a year, including 12,000 swimmers, according to the city budget.

Although Durand has always been perceived as a cleaner place to swim than Ontario Beach, it also has problems with bacteria. Storm runoff is a big problem.

The mayor asked City Council to approve spending $982,000 on an “antimicrobial storm water treatment system at the outfall of Sherry Swamp to Lake Ontario to improve the quality of water flowing to the public bathing area at the beach, and thereby reducing the number of beach closings resulting from high bacteria levels.”

Sherry Swamp has been identified as a big contributor of E. coli bacteria to the swimming area. Wild animal waste and contamination from sewer leaks are problems. (See this paper on Durand-Eastman water quality issues.)

Plans for a bathhouse have yet to get off the ground.

Meanwhile, Ontario Beach Park struggles with algae. A pump system was found to be effective, but there’s no word on whether anyone will shell out the money for permanent installation.

Links of the Day:

Rochester lost 2,000 private sector jobs in December.

– An 1856 painting of Niagara Falls will be the backdrop of the presidential inauguration luncheon.

– A Buffalo blogger thinks Wegmans shoppers are an entitled bunch who “stride around like stormtroopers” making a racket with their carts on the cobblestone floors.

Poor Hojack Swing Bridge.

24 Responses to Fixing Durand-Eastman Beach

  1. An excellent move. The lake needs our attention. It is a fantastic natural resource that many Rochesterians take for-granted. People in other cities drive for hours to get to waters such as these…

    Yes – Please clean up our beaches. People LOVE swimming there as evidenced by their behavior (despite the signs).

  2. January 18, 2013 at 10:15 am Wendy Nolan responds:

    Stormwater runoff is a big concern with one our precious resources-Lake Ontario. We followed I-Square’s runoff through Irondequoit to a pipe draining directly onto Durand Beach. Through a CFA grant of more than $450,000, I-Square will capture & reuse more than 90% of stormwater runoff.

  3. January 18, 2013 at 11:15 am DominionROC responds:

    Durand-Eastman Park is an extremely valuable asset that has been mostly ignored by the county. Why is the city spending money they don’t have on a regional asset. Monroe County should retake the Park and aggressively develop every part of the park including the beach. The existing work on the beach by the city is laudable …but totally inadequate…with the temporary bright orange wind fences and the scattered outhouses…it likes rather tacky. I understand the city has limited funds…that is why the County should take control of the whole park and make a significant community investment in a very valuable regional asset.

  4. Right.. So how to we get the County’s attention on this? I personally would like some of my County Tax dollars going toward this rather than widening lanes in Henrietta.

  5. January 18, 2013 at 12:58 pm theodore kumlander responds:

    i hate those coblestones when shopping at wegmens they make so much noise when the carts roll over them. i am glad i am not the only one.

  6. January 18, 2013 at 1:34 pm Animule responds:

    How come Louise Slaughter can’t get some federal money for this since the system links into Lake Ontario? You’d think she would be all over this. Why does the burden of paying for it have to fall on city taxpayers? I thought Louise went to Washington to take care of stuff like this for us?

  7. Excellent point. Does anyone have a number or email we could all contact?

  8. January 18, 2013 at 7:32 pm Orielly responds:

    Louise missed getting the dredging of the Port of Rochester TWICE. Talk about a shovel ready project but she couldn’t get the funding. The press never reported it that way, but that is the truth. SO what did she do? Get the funding a year (too) later then added improvements to the Pier and then had a ribbon cutting ceremony with press to praise Louise.

    Would sure like to have a local reporter ask where the city will get this 1 Million. Again how many times have we heard the city is bankrupt with a huge deficit. Doesn’t a real reporter ask how they can claim they are broke one week and then announce they are spending a mill here, a mill on a skate park, 200K on a study, 1 mill on a walking bridge, 1 mill on a bar in Charlotte. Why is that question never asked… or do they just “report”.

    Funny how local reporters will put a private citizen on the spot from time to time with a hard question but never our politicians/leaders.

    • January 18, 2013 at 8:51 pm DominionROC responds:

      Orielly…I have no problem of City/County capital funds being directed towards valuable public assets….but I don’t like is spending/investing in wrong projects. ROC has a consistent record of over funding in bad capital projects.

      I believe right now the city plans on spending $20 million of “cash capital” on building a relatively small Port of Rochester Marina…plus a couple internal roads. This project makes absolutely no sense. The port is saturated with Marinas…and the project only benefits a handful of boat owners and the few apartment owners/renters who may view these boats for a few months of the year!

      Instead of the city building a semi-private yacht Marina at the Port of Rochester..spend this $20 million on a major upgrade of Durand-Eastman Park and a million metro residents would benefit.

  9. January 18, 2013 at 9:53 pm Orielly responds:

    Don’t tell us your broke and then spend money time and time again, that doesn’t have to be spent.

    20 million on Durand for a beach that is used 40 days a year?

    1M metro residents will NEVER use Durand. Its more likely 10K to 20K who go there repeatedly but still only a few times a year on NICE days.

    I too am against the Marina. Its public dollars being spent to compete with private Marina owners. Just like the city owned and run bar at Charlotte.

    Again its money that doesnt need to be spent. We need police, we need roads plowed and maintained. We don’t need skate parks and if you don’t have the money don’t spend it…… OR……elected leaders….shut up with your complaints you have no money.

    We hear it all the time. The highest taxes state, county in the country and all our elected officials can tell us is they have no money.

    They (WE) have the money, they just waste it.

    • @OAJ – I hear you. But I think the removal of the pollution actually IS giving Durand back to the people.. Right now communities up-river get to dump their poop (legally) into our swimming hole.. Without research, we can’t petition the EPA or credibly appeal to State officials. This is a positive move for “The People”.

      @Orielly – Durand is more heavily used than you realize.

      • January 19, 2013 at 9:49 pm Orielly responds:

        Orielly – Durand is more heavily used than you realize…

        Trust me I know and its not more heavily used. The post I responded to said 1M in Metro Roch use it.. .. and that is NO Way even close to true.

        How many different people swim at Durand and How many days a year?

        Its a lot less than 20K and REAL swimming days, you know about 75 and Sunny low wind… AT THE LAKE…again AT THE LAKE – 40 to 60 days a year MAX.

  10. For years and years, my family enjoyed going to Durand on hot summer days. The place was packed. We came by boat, moored with other boaters, and swam into shore. Everyone seemed to be having fun. Then some idiots decided it needed to be regulated. Lifeguards and all sort of rules were put in place. No boats, no floating toys, no nothing….no fun. Needless to say, Durand has now become a eye sore of fencing and days where swimming is not allowed. This once great natural resource has now become another city controlled dump. What a shame. This report states another million dollars is being wasted on some farcical plan to improve water quality. I will say it again, why is Tom Richards the mayor and why do the people of this region elect him? Why does this paper endorse him? Durand should be returned to the people. It is a natural resource NOT a commodity. The city has a public beach in Charlotte. Let them continue to ruin that resource, leave Durand alone.

  11. January 19, 2013 at 10:26 pm DominionROC responds:

    Orielly….my specific comments was that one million metro population would “benefit”. One gets a benefit if one uses the park directly or doesn’t directly use it. When a region invest in public assets…the whole region benefits. Homes and businesses are valued not on just a specific home or business…it’s also valued on the total assets in the community. If a region has more upgraded/upscale amenities…all properties economically benefit via higher property values. This is economics 101.

    Government investments are just like private investments. They are made to increase the value of property.

    $20 million invested in Durand Eastman would significantly increase the number of people who directly utilize an upgraded park…and those that don’t partake…still will see a economic benefit. Also realize that Durand Eastman is more than a beach…it has outstanding views….mega forests, bike/waling paths, several lakes and wide open spaces. $20 million could have a profound effect on creating an outstanding regional amenities.

    Like the private sector…government must spend money to make money. Accept the fact that government is not evil…and a minimalist government is NOT GOOOD!!!

  12. January 20, 2013 at 2:30 pm Orielly responds:

    DominionROC… Horse Manure

    Rochester is renowned for its parks, philharmonic orchestra, Museums, quality of life etc. An “investment”of 20M in Durand water quality or the park will have— read it NONE… NADDA effect on the price of homes in this area.

    Tell us how or why ROCH with so many public funded parks etc, has one of the lowest HOME costs in the country? I will tell you your answer. Because Roch with the lowest housing prices also has one of the highest taxes per assessed value in the country.
    Why? Because our politicians spend too much and we have all these cheerleaders that think that spending is a good idea.

    Biggest thing that was done bringing this city back in the last 20ys was the EAST END. That was done by private business in competition with the CITY who were putting 150M in High Falls, 250M in the Fast ferry and 1M a year in a bar in Charlotte…all of which competed against the East End.

    There is no logic or facts to back up your point that an investment in Durand will yield a home price increase. In fact the high taxes caused by these “investments” has had just the opposite effect.

    Economics 101 when I went to school is the law of price and demand. As we raise our tax prices the demand for our property is less and less.

    Reagan was right, Government is not the solution to the problem they are the problem.

  13. How do you explain Baltimore’s Inner Harbor? Pretty much every study shows that economic development was strong, all started with public dollars and a desire to rebuild a failing area with strong natural resources. Pittsburgh has a similar story in their waterfront development – now achieving actual population growth, where is used to be declining like Rochester’s.

    The point, there actually is data on this.

  14. January 20, 2013 at 4:29 pm DominionROC responds:

    Orielly….I never said put $20 million into just the pollution mitigation project. It’s already been acknowledged that $1 million should be sufficient. I stated spending $20 million on the WHOLE park would make a significant impact on the number of people who would use the park…and property values of everyone in the region.

    I am sure you have heard the term “location, location, location”…it refers to external amenities…not what is in the house. Property near a publically funded expressway…raises property values. Property near an excellent public school system…raises property values. Property near a well-equipped and maintained park…raises property values….etc.

    Again…government is the backbone of a civilized nation. Less government just makes us less civilized. Sure government must make the right decisions on how to spend public money…but government’s constant investment in the community is essential.

    And finally, Rochester was once noted for their parks and cultural amenities…but that was a couple generations ago…that isn’t so now. Other cities have been more aggressive in not only investing in their communities…but investing in the right projects. Rochester has a tattered past in choosing boondoggles rather than the right projects.

  15. January 20, 2013 at 5:55 pm Orielly responds:

    The reason why Pitt and Baltimore are experiencing growth, if they are, has little to do with those investments.

    Baltimore is growing thanks to the close to DC and Pitt has major Corp. who are rebounding as well was the U Pitt. etc.

    Again, How do you explain all the billions put in Buffalo water front and that area continues to decline overall?

    Those projects use the development all year long (Balt/Pitt)

    Buff is like Roc too close to the cold water. Durand has an excellent golf course and it quite nice now. 20M in the park will not DRAW thousands more.

    It is completely ludicrous to think that you put 20M into Durand and the property values go up because of it. In fact with the growth of the city into IROQ overall real property assessments vs the rest of MC is going down.

    Hows that IROQ Mall investment working out? Few areas in IROQ are going up and those that are have lake or Bay front associated with it. In fact the a large draw to the park on weekends could drive property values down.

  16. January 20, 2013 at 6:53 pm Orielly responds:

    oh and location location location refers to the AREA you live not how close you are to parks.

    In Roch the two top areas house price wise are Mendon and Pittsford. Pittsford has two or three parks they just added one a few years ago. (no body uses it) Mendon has one in the town one in HF. Investments in Mendon Ponds have gone down over the years Mendon has grown. No longer do they have tennis courts or swimming. But they have the highest property values and have had it for years. Perinton, Victor, same thing.

    On the other hand Henrietta and Gates, Chili have tons of park land, no sign of them taking over and being in the top 5 towns property assessment wise any time soon. In fact the number of kids going to their schools shows more and more on subsides for lunch saying the relative income in the towns people is going down.

    Again there are no facts to back up the contention that govt investment in parks drives property value up.

    Now if you want to talk stimulus, that second stimulus by Obama did nothing. Remember they had no shovel ready projects.
    And with the great Louise Slaughter, we couldn’t get the money to dig (shovel ready) our port of Rochester.

  17. @Orielly – Wow… You sure are full of reasons why things won’t work. LOL I think you make some valid points. I certainly don’t think growth is easy. Having built several businesses from nothing myself, I know how hard it is.

    But what I most want to hear is what you think WILL work? Or have you decided that Rochester (and Western New York) are just a lost cause? What is your vision to building a stronger Rochester?

    P.S. You didn’t mention schools and their relation to property values. There is a strong correlation there.

  18. January 21, 2013 at 8:22 pm Orielly responds:

    What will work.

    Lower taxes drastically
    Use our resources as a state for this state. Perhaps the two biggest hydro power plants in the US Niagara and the St Lawrence yet our electric power is one of the highest, it should be the cheapest.

    Water, we have more clean fresh water than almost anyone, yet what business comes here to use it?

    If we lower taxes to the cheapest in the country and have cheap power, with tons of clean fresh water they will come here.

    Then get area colleges on board to support this area vs students from other countries or professors. Have the colleges “build” students that support the area businesses.

    Oh and while your at it close the RCSD and put vouchers in place. Parents who don’t send their kids to school, who don’t supply the kids with food or winter coats etc. lose those kids vs schools feeding them and coat drives for bad parents.

    And stop spending on things that have no pay back, like 20m in a park.

  19. Now we’re making progress. LOL

    As for fresh water, there is a monster construction project proposed for a huge pipe of fresh water for manufacturing (may actually have already started). There are also many businesses already here for the water (which I agree with, as long as we don’t let them pollute it).

    Other than closing RCSD – I’d like to hear about how, exactly, you would lower taxes. I don’t think the parks project will get you there 😉

  20. January 22, 2013 at 9:40 am Orielly responds:

    no the parks project won’t get it there but stopping unneeded spending every time you see it WILL vs cheer-leading.

    Many people are like kids with santa claus. They don’t realize that with the new toys mom and dad have to pay the bill. .. and oh yea we don’t have the money.

    When will people realize we as a country, state, city, county are broke. Why? Again not that they don’t have money .. they waste it.

    150M in High Falls 250 to 400 on the fast ferry or 1 M on the bar in Charlotte are just a few of them.
    Do we need a skate park, do we really need to put 20M in Durand? Do we need to fill in the inner loop, do we need studies and consultants every time we turn around to build some politician’s dream? Do we need a 70M MCC DT when the campus in Brighton can handle that MCC DT students with no building needed? After all its 5 miles and a free bus ride away. Did we need to spend 50M on the airport service road 4 lane tunnel that is used by under 500 cars a day? ( I never see a car use it)

    There are millions of projects that are un-needed. Stop spending,DO IT only for those things that really need it. The public should take hard looks at each spending proposal like we do our own homes and pocket book vs cheering oh yea a skate park that would be great!

    Someone’s got to pay for the park Johnny and Mommy and Daddies have all ready put you in debt for 50K before your out of diapers.

    Or Adam don’t you see the problem with our country etc financial well being?

    OBTW “I have started a few business’s” myself and key to that endeavour is knowing how to balance a check book and what to spend money on and even more important what not to waste money on…..or did you forget THAT… LOL

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