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Lakewood Officially Cancels Summerfest Event

Lakewood was forced to cancel its Summerfest event due to the challenges of COVID-19, and is in the process of deciding whether or not to open its beach for the summer season. P-J photo by Jay Young

LAKEWOOD — Village residents will not be able to enjoy Summerfest or typical Fourth of July celebrations this year, which were officially canceled by the village board at a meeting Monday.

Last week, Lakewood Mayor Randy Holcomb announced that the village would not be holding its Independence Day fireworks celebration due to COVID-19. On Monday, the board discussed how the pandemic might impact summer activities at Hartley Park, in particular the beach.

“I did speak with the health department and they are leaving things like opening the beaches to the municipalities,” trustee Ellen Barnes said. “Hopefully the lake will be in better shape this year than it has been. You never know, that is something none of us can predict. We don’t know how many algal blooms we are going to endure, and how severe they are going to be.”

The board tabled its discussion of whether or not to hire lifeguards to staff the beach, with several trustees expressing their desire to see a return to summer activities in the wake of last year’s closures.

“I agree with Ellen,” trustee Doug Schutte said. “I think we have been through enough closures. We’re not funding fireworks for this summer. I think it will be nice to have a new playground, which will be a draw to bring people into the community and also be a resource for members of our community. To close the beach another summer is, I think, a bad thing.”

Trustee Barnes noted that there has not been significant guidance from New York state officials regarding the feasibility of holding outdoor events this coming summer.

Trustee Rich Fischer mentioned that other municipalities and attractions in Chautauqua County area dealing with similar situations about opening their facilities this summer.

The board did approve a special use permit for Group Ther-Happy at 103 Chautauqua Ave. to hold live music on April 17, but tabled a discussion of permitting more live music events this summer.

A public hearing was held to discuss the village’s tentative 2021-22 budget, which can be viewed in full at the Lakewood website.

“I believe this original tentative budget represents administrative requests while simultaneously emphasizes the priorities of the village as a whole,” Mayor Randy Holcomb said. “The board of trustees will now work to finalize this village budget.”

The budget includes a balance of $1,996,295 to be raised by real property tax levy, and moves the tax rate from $7.90 to $8.12 percent per $1,000 assessed value.

Regarding upcoming expenditures, the board tabled a discussion about the possible addition of an evidence room for the Lakewood-Busti police department.

In other business, the village’s zoning board of appeals is seeking a fifth member, and interested parties can contact Mayor Holcomb or clerk Mary Currie.

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