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Debris near construction site cleaned up at Brentwood park

Construction materials found at Roberto Clemente Park in

Construction materials found at Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood on Jan. 22, 2018, have been cleaned up, town officials said. Credit: Newsday / Rachelle Blidner

Roberto Clemente Park has been cleaned up of construction debris and may get additional fencing, Islip Town officials said, after materials used to protect concrete were found strewed on the ground of the former dumping site.

Officials said they organized a cleanup of the park from Wednesday to Friday, after a Newsday reporter found tarps clumped on a sidewalk with empty containers and broken yellow construction tape on Jan. 22.

The tarps and posts were placed in December by a contractor to protect concrete, which had been newly poured on the sidewalk, from ice and snow, town spokeswoman Caroline Smith said.

Tom Owens, the town’s commissioner of parks and public works, said contractors clean up the construction area once a week.

“We’re very sensitive to the site,” Owens said.

The Brentwood park reopened in the summer after county officials discovered 40,000 tons of contaminated debris dumped there in April 2014. A Suffolk County district attorney’s office investigation into the dumping at the park and at three other sites led to the convictions of five men, including two former town parks employees.

The park is an active construction site, with “materials coming in and out on a daily basis” as the pool is being refurbished behind a perimeter fence, Smith said. Contractors also are working to upgrade the filtration system and improve other park sites.

“The town will continue to maintain the parking lot and pathways in a safe condition while the improvements are undertaken,” Smith said.

Community activist Nelsena Day said Brentwood residents had asked officials to put a fence around all construction before the park reopened.

“Why can’t they just listen to us instead of it coming to this point?” Day asked.

Suffolk Legis. Monica Martinez (D-Brentwood) said Thursday that while she had not received any constituent complaints about the materials, it is “unfortunate” that the contractor left them behind.

“If someone gets hurt, it’s going to be on the contractor,” said Martinez, who lives near the park.

Smith did not provide information about the contractor responsible for sidewalk construction.

Several neighborhood residents said they would not have noticed anything amiss in the park because they do not use it.

“I’m still afraid and not sure if it’s 100 percent safe,” James Melendez said. “I have to see in a year or two for my kids’ safety.”

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