DORSET -- Saturday will mark the opening of Dorset's Emerald Lake for the summer season, and regulars to the lakefront will notice a difference in how much space they have to lay down their towels.

"We made it more accessible," said Town Manager Rob Gaiotti. "We opened up another ten-to-twenty feet around the beach."

Gaiotti explained that this extra space was gained by removing the retaining wall around the lakefront, thus adding more room to both the beach and the grassy space around the beach. The slope from the grass to the beach has also been changed to one that is more gradual.

"It really changed the character of the area," said Gaiotti.

In addition to the removal of the retaining wall to increase space, the beach has been re-graded and filled in with new sand. According to Gaiotti, the beach was due to see maintenance at this time, and it seemed fitting to make changes at the same time.

"The town identified it as an area that was in need of a facelift," he said, "and we thought this was an effective way to enhance it and gain some territory."

The work was done in part by the Dorset Highway Commission and the Emerald Lake staff. However, the project was funded by the state's maintenance budget, and not from the town of Dorset.

"The town donated their time and equipment," Gaiotti said of the town's input to the project, if not monetary, "and about a week's time of personnel." The budget covered materials, such as sand, hay and grass seed, and the rental of a bulldozer from the contractor. The total for the project was under $5,000, according to Gaiotti. They were able to keep the cost low partially due to the removal of the retaining wall. The sand and dirt underneath and behind the wall were able to be reused to help adjust the slope, therefore needing to purchase less new sand.

Gaiotti noted that they have been seeing attendance to the lake rise every year since they have been offering free entrance for residents. In 2012, the lake saw approximately 4,000 visits. Resident passes to the lake can be acquired at the Town Offices, and any questions can be directed to the Town Manager by calling 802-362-4571, extension 3, or by emailing townmanager@gmail.com.