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Old Bethpage Village Restoration gets cleaned up after Tough Mudder race

Grass at Old Bethpage Village, shown Wednesday, Aug.

Grass at Old Bethpage Village, shown Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015, will need seeding after Tough Mudder event. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

The company that organized last weekend's 10-mile obstacle course at Old Bethpage Village Restoration is filling in holes, hauling away pieces of climbing walls and leveling land to attempt to return the re-creation of a mid-19th century Long Island village to what it looked like before the event.

Natalie Naylor, president of the Nassau County Historical Society, said she spent three hours at the site Thursday and was relieved that none of the 51 historic buildings there appeared to be damaged by the roughly 12,000 participants and spectators of Tough Mudder.

She said she is worried that tractors and bulldozers that are digging and riding over the site may damage tree roots, and that trampled grass will take a long time to recover.

Tough Mudder event organizers hired professionals to ensure that the grass will survive and no trees would be damaged, event director Hilary May said.

Nassau County, which owns the site, hasn't decided whether to invite Tough Mudder back next year, county parks spokeswoman Mary Studdert said in an email.

But Naylor hopes the first Tough Mudder at Village Restoration, which closed the outdoor museum to the public for the entire weekend, is the last.

"Even if it suffered minimal damage this year, it disrupted things and shouldn't be repeated there," Naylor said.

Jason Crowley, preservation director of the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities, said Tough Mudder set a worrisome precedent.

"It's an open-air museum and they're using it now as a recreational facility," he said of the county.

May said opposition from preservationists will be taken into account in the decision-making as to whether to return next year.

County officials who have been monitoring the cleanup said they're impressed.

"The amount of wear and tear on the property was less than what we get from the Long Island Fair," which takes place at Village Restoration each year, said Eileen Krieb, who oversees historic sites for the county.

As Krieb drove through the site Wednesday, she pointed to large holes that already had been filled in, and acres that had been cleared of obstacles. Big metal containers full of debris sat in the parking lot and in a few fields. Several lines of portable toilets remained.

A contract between the county and Tough Mudder requires organizers to pay for the cleanup and to have been completed by Friday. Tough Mudder was on track to complete its work Friday, Studdert said.

An exception is some of the landscaping. At the county's request, landscapers hired by Tough Mudder will aerate and seed trampled-upon land when the weather is more optimal for growing grass, Krieb said.

Tough Mudder paid the county $30,000 for use of the site. All of that money will fund projects at Village Restoration, including a new gazebo, new barn doors and the painting of a historic home, Studdert said.


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