Chautauqua Lake Ferry Shut Down by State
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STOW, N.Y. — Originally slated to start operating on June 1st, the Bemus Point/Stow Ferry has been shut down by a state agency due to non-compliance.
An inspector from the Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation stopped by May 30th and informed the operators they needed to upgrade their pumps that keep the ferry afloat and install an anchor.
"It's labor intensive. It's all here. We can do it. We're going to do it. If it isn't this weekend, it'll be next weekend, but I've got school kids coming next week and we're going to try our darnedest," said John Cheney, director of vessels for Sea Lion Project Ltd.
Cheney says it would cost more than a thousand dollars to make the repairs. He adds the Sea Lion board has plenty of funding but it's more about the principle of the matter.
"People have been more than generous. It isn't that we don't have the money but why should we spend money for something that is not necessary or useful," Cheney said.
Cheney says the ferry runs along a cable and only travels about a hundred yards across Chautauqua Lake; therefore the extra equipment would be just an extra expense.
Maryellen Tobias, who lives near the landing, is disappointed with the closure because it's been handy to have nearby.
"We ride it every weekend. When our grandkids come, we go across the lake, go to the concerts in Bemus. We go shopping over there, out for breakfast. It's just a real convenience. You don't have to worry about parking your car," she said.
Businesses on the opposite end of the lake, like the Italian Fisherman believe it's an asset to the area. Dan Dalpra, the restaurant's owner, says with the summer season, it's beneficial to have the ferry up and running.
"The season's too short so we really can't afford to have a loss of those revenues tax dollars they generate and jobs that it creates," Dalpra said. "It's a major landmark here. A lot of tourists come from all around the world to come and see this particular thing and ride on it, families enjoy it."
Cheney says the pumps are already on order and weather depending, work will be done this weekend.