DEC Announces Completion of Oneida Lake's Historic Cleveland Dock Restoration
Project Improves Access and Safety for Boaters and Anglers of All Abilities
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced that the major restoration and rehabilitation of the historic Cleveland Dock Fishing Access Site is complete, and the site is now open to the public. Cleveland Dock, located at 69 State Route 49 in the village of Cleveland, Oswego County, provides unique access to the excellent fishing on Oneida Lake and draws visitors for open water fishing, ice fishing, and boat docking. The site also provides emergency services access and helps connect boaters to the New York State Canal system.
“DEC is thrilled to welcome visitors to the newly rehabilitated historic Cleveland Dock on behalf of all our partners dedicated to its restoration,” Commissioner Seggos said. “Cleveland Dock was a significant historic maritime landing place on the Erie Canalway, originally acquired by New York State in 1916, and for more than a century has been a popular fishing and boating location for countless community residents and visitors. Now, as we look to the future and recognize the importance of getting outside safely in these challenging times, the numerous accessibility improvements to expand recreational access for boaters, anglers, and visitors of all abilities will make this a community resource for future generations.”
Due to age-related deterioration of its waterfront structures, including two protective breakwater walls, Cleveland Dock was in danger of total collapse. Rehabilitation work included removal of a failing concrete and timber sea wall and replacement with a steel sheet pile wall system. Improvements include grading, timber guide rails, railings, sidewalk, a concrete wall cap, benches, site electric, lamp posts, a hand launch for non-motorized boats, and parking lot upgrades. In addition, universally accessible site features include parking spaces and access along the edge of the pier, a picnic table, and fishing access along the pier railing.
DEC funded $788,310 of the restoration and stabilization activities through NY Works funding. The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation provided $150,000 through the state Environmental Protection Fund for a total investment of $938,310. DEC will maintain the site in partnership with the New York State Canal Corporation, the site owner.
State and local partners that supported the restoration of this community asset include:
Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, “State Parks is pleased to have helped support this project through the state Environmental Protection Fund. The historic Cleveland Dock has been an important access point to Oneida Lake and the Erie Canalway for more than a century, and this restoration work ensures that will continue for many decades to come."
New York State Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton said, “The Canal Corporation is pleased to partner with DEC to restore the historic Cleveland Dock on Oneida Lake to its former glory, and to make it the best it can be for generations to come. We are especially pleased to have this dock in operation as the Erie Canal is now open from Rome through Oneida Lake to the Tonawanda’s. The entire Erie Canal will be open end-to-end by July 31 after the section east of Rome opens in phases this month.”
New York State Tug Hill Commission Executive Director Katie Malinowski said, “Restoration of the Cleveland Dock will provide critical recreational access on the north shore of Oneida Lake in all seasons. This accomplishment is a perfect example of sustained efforts by local and state partners to achieve a common goal.”
Village of Cleveland Mayor Laureen Tackman said, “Cleveland Dock will always be a part of the Village of Cleveland’s history and now we are joyously celebrating its rebirth! With its revival, Cleveland Dock will continue to be a prime recreational spot within our village for fishing access to beautiful Oneida Lake. One of my personal hopes is that this will bring more families to fish with their children. Let us pass the joy of fishing on to the next generation for their enjoyment as well as our own. The delight of seeing a child catch a fish is priceless!”
Oswego County Legislature Chair James Weatherup said, “It’s very exciting to see Cleveland Dock restored to its full potential as one of the best shoreline fishing opportunities on Oneida Lake. People have been drawn to the north shore communities for fishing, boating, and recreation for years, and the completion of the dock project will provide outstanding public access for years to come. We appreciate the work of Governor Cuomo, DEC, and our other partners for helping to reinvigorate this community beacon.”
Oswego County 5th District Legislator Roy Reehil said, “The historic Cleveland Dock has always been one of the best shoreline fishing locations on all of Oneida Lake, and now, with the recently completed renovations, it is also one of the nicest places to fish. The renovations capture the look of the original pier while providing convenient lake access for activities from ice fishing to launching canoes and kayaks. Kudos to New York State for a job well done. The north shore community, especially the anglers, thanks you!
Oswego County Department of Community Development, Tourism, and Planning Executive Director David Turner said, “For more than a century, Cleveland Dock has served as a commercial and recreational focal point for this area on the north shore of Oneida Lake. It was largely the reason for the official formation of the Village of Cleveland. The restoration of this facility has the potential to lead to new private investment at nearby businesses as we witness a renewed influx of visitors to this historic structure. Year-round anglers, boaters, and other visitors have long awaited the completion of this project and I am sure that they join me in thanking Governor Cuomo, DEC, Canal Corporation, and the many other state and local partners who all worked together to make this possible.”
Oneida Lake Association President Bill Girvan said, “The historic Cleveland Dock on Oneida Lake is now a very safe fishing access site for people of all ages and physical abilities to enjoy,
and the view is breathtaking. The members of the Oneida Lake Association really appreciate the efforts of DEC and partners to make Cleveland Dock a great outdoor recreation and leisure location with very good parking and lighting.
Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board Executive Director David Bottar said, “I am very pleased to learn that DEC has successfully completed the rehabilitation of the Cleveland Dock. This initiative will strongly support community revitalization efforts in the Village of Cleveland and compliment ongoing efforts by community leaders and county officials to develop Cleveland as a regional gateway for recreation and tourism in Central New York.”
Oneida Lake, located 10 miles north of Syracuse in Oneida and Oswego counties, is the largest lake lying wholly within New York State and is best known for its walleye and yellow perch fishery. During the open water season, the outflow from Black Creek combines with the deep water along the dock to attract a variety of fish species. Most notably, the dock provides access to post-spawn walleye in May and is also a great place to catch cruising walleye in the fall. Overall, the lake presents a diversity of fish species including bowfin, freshwater drum, longnose gar, pickerel, northern pike, and a variety of panfish.
The lake is also a fantastic bass fishing location and popular tournament stop for professional bass fishing organizations. In July 2020, Bassmaster Magazine ranked Oneida Lake 18th in the nation out of the top 25 best bass fishing lakes of the decade. There are few publicly accessible locations on Oneida Lake that rival the high-quality shoreline fishing opportunity provided by Cleveland Dock. Current fishing information is available on DEC’s Central New York Fishing Hotline.
DEC wants to remind anglers and boaters that they play a major role in preventing the spread of invasive species, and responsible practices should be employed to help stop their spread. Following recommended guidelines such as properly cleaning, draining, and drying your boat and gear will lessen the likelihood of spreading invasive species and diseases and help protect this great resource for years to come.
During the State’s ongoing response to COVID-19, New Yorkers across the state want and need to get outside for a nature break, which is good for physical and mental health. Before visiting Cleveland Dock Fishing Access Site, take the PLAY SMART * PLAY SAFE * PLAY LOCAL pledge, and promise to use common sense to protect yourself and others when enjoying the outdoors. Play Smart encourages New Yorkers to recreate safely, responsibly, and locally this summer and to always treat fellow outdoor adventurers with respect.
Under Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's Adventure NY initiative, DEC is making strategic investments to expand access to healthy, active, outdoor recreation; connect more New Yorkers and visitors to nature and the outdoors; protect natural resources; and boost local economies. Read more about the Adventure NY initiative on DEC’s web site.
Photos of new Cleveland Dock are courtesy of NYSDEC.