NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Long Island taxpayers have become fed up with pollution and trash at their once favorite beach.

Suffolk County residents have been told that swimming is now off-limits in historic Lake Ronkonkoma, and beach lovers want to know who will clean up the mess.

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“It’s hard to believe this was a resort area at one time,” Quinn Vollgraff told CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan.

Vollgraff was dodging glass, trash, beer bottles, needles, nails, and even old railroad ties as he walked along the shoreline of Lake Ronkonkoma — Long Island’s largest freshwater lake.

“Smelling hotdogs cooking at the little concession, people coming in the evening,” he recalled.

They came by horse and buggy, then trains and model Ts.

It was a playground of the wealthy during the roaring twenties and beyond. There were 34 pavilions and gracious hotels.

“Instead of all these geese and other birds there were people and everyday at the pavilion the staff would sweep the whole beach,” Jo Molinari said.

Molinari still has her old cabana key, and prays for a return to the glory years.

Evelyn Vollgraff of the Lake Ronkonkoma Improvement Society said she’s been waiting for action.

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“Oh years. Years and years,” she said.

The improvement society has been demanding answers. They want to know who is responsible for clearing the remains of the historic book store that burned, or the horrible blight that remains on the once famed grounds of the Bavarian Inn.

It’s almost too complicated to believe.

“The bottom of the lake is owner by the town of Islip, and some of the shore,” Suffolk County legislator Leslie Kennedy said, “The town of Smithtown has a small portion, the town of Brookhaven has a portion, and the county of Suffolk has a portion.”

Kennedy explained that with three towns and one county all owning a share, it’s been decades of passing the buck.

“But it’s like pulling teeth. The taxes we pay should count for something,” Vollgraff said.

For now swimmers will have to stay out of the water, and nobody can eat the fish.

The first of several community meetings to put pressure on local governments to take action will be held on Thursday night.

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The lake has a circumference of two miles, and experts say it will take decades to become pollution free.