TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Work has begun on removing a damaged dam from the Poestenkill Creek in Troy, and it’s dried up a popular recreational spot.

What was once a beautiful pond is now a muddy mess, and people with fond memories of Ida Lake are hoping the city can restore it to what it once was. George Hillje has been going there since he was a boy, but now his favorite spot is unrecognizable.

“I feel like crying, really. It brings back a lot of memories.”

The Mt. Ida Dam was deemed structurally unsound, and now a portion of it has been removed allowing the water level to lower and making Ida Lake a thing of the past.

“This was like a playground for the kids,” said Hillje.

There was skating in the winter, fishing in the summer, and for Suzanne Petty, it was a great place to take the kayak.

“It was one of Troy’s most beautiful assets, and as you can see, it’s destroyed,” she said.

Petty’s documenting the demise of Ida Lake, and she says there will be a negative impact on wildlife and property values. She’s struck a chord with those who spent their childhood here.

“It was a great place to grow up, no doubt,” said Brad Caird.

Caird lives nearby, and he says he hasn’t given up hope.

“They’re not totally saying they won’t rebuild the dam. The dam, 20 years ago, went out before, so we know that it can be restored,” he said.

The mayor’s office was unavailable Monday, but previously told NEWS10 ABC they’re removing the dam to protect people and buildings downstream and are exploring long term plans.

“It was a great place, and why they can’t take care of something like this, it just breaks our hearts up here, you know,” said Hillje.