Town leaders rush to fix rec areas

Babylon Town Hall, as seen on Dec. 14, Babylon Town Hall, as seen on Dec. 14, 2011, at 200 East Sunrise Hwy. in Lindenhurst. Photo Credit: Carl Corry

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Babylon's Town Board authorized a $22.5 million bond issue Tuesday for reconstructing town parks, beaches, pools and docks damaged by Sandy as officials began what they described as a "monumental" effort to ready the facilities by Memorial Day.

The effort will be the largest of its kind in the town's history, Councilman Tony Martinez said in an interview before the board meeting. "This is a blue-collar town, and residents rely on the services provided by the parks to keep their kids busy and entertained" during the summer, he said.

Tasks include filling in huge holes left after the storm sucked sand from Overlook Beach and Cedar Beach Park, and repairing extensive damage to Tanner Park on the Copiague waterfront.

The full extent of damage to town recreational facilities is not yet known, with some pump rooms and other facilities not yet surveyed.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency may reimburse up to three-quarters of the bond issue, said John R. Cifelli, the town's director of operations, with the remainder divided between the town and the state. But reimbursement could take years and may not be as much as the town asks, he cautioned. "We're going to give FEMA every piece of paper they request," he said. "But between our request and what we get, there may be a big difference."

The board also rescinded an open-ended contract for removal of construction and demolition debris from Sandy that had been awarded to Progressive Waste Solutions of Long Island, doing business as Winters Brothers Waste Systems.

Town spokesman Tim Ruggeri said Winters Brothers had worked just one day. Kevin Bonner, an assistant to Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer, said the company was unable to mobilize a 25-truck fleet needed for the job. The company had far underbid its competitors, offering a $74-per-ton rate.

EnCon, which picks up town residents' household garbage, was awarded the contract with a bid of $123.25 per ton, the second lowest. Details on the total potential value of the contract were not immediately available.

Anthony J. Farina, a manager for Progressive Waste Solutions, did not return a phone call Tuesday.

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