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Petition drive underway to reopen Roberto Clemente Park

Active Cleanup Site signs hang on the gates

Active Cleanup Site signs hang on the gates to Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood on Sep.13, 2015. The park was closed last year due to Illegal dumping. Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

An online petition demanding Town of Islip officials reopen shuttered Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood has garnered more than 650 signatures in a little more than two weeks.

The gates at the park’s entrance on Broadway have been locked since April 2014, when 40,000 tons of construction and demolition debris -- tainted with asbestos and other hazardous materials -- was first discovered. The Town of Islip removed the debris last summer and have recently estimated its reopening to summer 2018.

The petition was started by Herbie Medina, 33, a lifelong Brentwood resident, on the website change.org.

“Still to this day...there are signs posted that say ‘active clean up site,’ but every time my family passes we do not see any activity or progress in this so-called clean up and renovation,” Medina wrote on the petition.

An Islip Town spokeswoman declined to comment on the petition, citing pending civil litigation over the cleanup and rehabilitation costs.

The Town filed a $4 million racketeering suit against 38 defendants in April, including the six men and four companies indicted for illegal dumping crimes in and around Islip Town by Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota. Thomas Datre Jr., of 5 Brothers Farming Corp., Christopher Grabe, of Islandia Recycling, former Islip Town parks commissioner Joseph J. Montuori Jr. and his ex-secretary Brett A. Robinson, have pleaded guilty this year to crimes for their involvement in the park dumping.

Medina said in an interview he is planning to rally residents to attend the next Islip Town Board meeting, scheduled for Sept. 20, to say, “We want our park back.”

State and Islip officials held a news conference on Aug. 12 announcing $2 million in state funds set aside to build a spray park at the park.

For her part, Medina said the timeline for the park’s reopening “isn’t fair.”

“In 2013 when they closed the pool, they said it would be a few years to fix it and open it back up,” Medina said. “Then the park closed and now they say 2018, but I’m afraid when it’s 2018, it’ll be another few years from then.”

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