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Hempstead's Kate Murray helps knock down shuttered Island Park Village Hall

Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray is shown with

Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray is shown with the payloader used to demolish the village building at Island Park Village Hall on Thursday, April 23, 2015. Credit: Uli Seit

Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray dropped the hammer Thursday in Island Park.

Murray boarded a payloader Thursday morning and dealt the first ceremonial blow to demolish the superstorm Sandy-ravaged Island Park Village Hall.

The town is absorbing about $25,000 in expenses that the village would have had to cover to demolish and remove the debris of the building, shuttered for more than two years. The village plans to build a $1.5 million new village hall, using bond funding.

Murray used the spectacle to demonstrate an agreement with the town to use village property and parking lots to store town-owned equipment for emergencies.

Town officials said emergency and snow equipment would not be permanently parked on village property except when responding to major incidents.

Town spokesman Mike Deery said the town would not sustain any additional expenses in the demolition because the project will be done using town-owned equipment during regular working hours.

Murray sat with a licensed contractor in the payloader as she lifted the front of the earth-mover and crashed it down several times on the roof of the old Village Hall. She used the weight of the construction equipment to tear down the north wall of the building before handing it over to the professionals.

"Sometimes the best way to rebuild is by knocking something down," Murray said. "This partnership is giving a beautiful waterside community a helping hand as it continues to battle back from Sandy."

The town set up a temporary mobile-village hall for Island Park during Sandy as a command center to dispatch resources and run village business.

Island Park village board members passed a bond-anticipation note last year to move forward with the $1.5 million village hall. The board currently operates out of a modular building next to the LIRR station.

Residents criticized the expense of the building, but officials said the new village hall will double as an office of emergency services and a police substation.

Island Park Mayor Michael McGinty said the $1.5 million in bonds would cover the new village hall, which is not being reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA funds were cut 70 percent for the village hall, leaving just $300,000 for the village.

"We're coming back from what was and continues to be hard times," McGinty said. "This village has been known for recovery. We stand committed to make Island Park a destination."

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