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LIRR cleans up ‘zombie’ property in Levittown after complaints

LIRR workers clean up a stretch of neglected

LIRR workers clean up a stretch of neglected and overgrown property near Meridian Road in Levittown, Thursday evening, Aug. 18, 2016. Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Long Island Rail Road workers cleaned up a blighted property in Levittown on Thursday after Hempstead Town officials complained of overgrown weeds and debris next to homes.

The cleanup started a day after town officials criticized the condition of the 2-mile-long site.

Residents had complained about mice and insects invading their yards from the property along Meridian Road that had become lush with 6-foot tall weeds and littered with debris.

Hempstead officials, in a news conference Wednesday, blamed the LIRR for neglecting the property for the past several years and not responding to repeated requests to clear the parcel that runs from Wantagh Avenue to Newbridge Road.

Railroad tracks ran through the site from 1871 until the line was closed in the 1930s.

LIRR officials confirmed the work, without providing additional comment.

Railroad spokesman Sal Arena said Wednesday that the agency has to prioritize landscaping work along 700 miles of active track across Long Island and Queens. Officials said they had trimmed areas of the decommissioned track last month.

Town officials said the Levittown land was untouched and the only way to spur action was to “publicly shame” the LIRR.

Town Supervisor Anthony Santino had compared the property to an abandoned, deteriorating “zombie” house, but the town was unable to clear the property itself because it could not assess fines on the LIRR.

“I am pleased for neighbors that the LIRR cleaned up its zombie property in Levittown,” Santino said in a statement Thursday. “It is sad that the agency’s officials had to be publicly embarrassed into doing the right thing. Hopefully, LIRR managers will stop ignoring homeowners’ concerns and become a better neighbor.”

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