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Islip Town Board votes to spend up to $6 million to clean up Roberto Clemente park

The Islip Town board voted unanimously to spend

The Islip Town board voted unanimously to spend up to $6 million in bonds to clean up the estimated 32,000 tons of construction debris dumped in Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood. Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

The Islip Town Board voted unanimously on Tuesday to spend up to $6 million in bonds to clean up the estimated 32,000 tons of construction debris dumped in Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood.

Enviroscience Consultants Inc., of Ronkonkoma, is preparing a remediation plan for the park -- which has already cost the town $192,500. The bond sale is contingent on the remediation plan being approved by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, town attorney Robert Cicale said.

"If it turns out to be less, we don't need to borrow the entire amount," Cicale said. "Once we have our plan from Enviroscience, we'll have a more specific number."

Consultants' initial estimates for the cleanup were $3 million to $4 million, according to town spokeswoman Inez Birbiglia. More funding was added to include the park's total reconstruction as well as unforeseen costs, officials said.

Councilman John C. Cochrane Jr. motioned to approve the resolution and Councilwoman Trish Bergin Weichbrodt seconded. There was no discussion among board members for the bond resolution to raise the funds, which passed 4-0.

The board raised townwide taxes by 28 percent in 2012 to cut down a $26 million deficit. The last estimated deficit was $11.3 million at the end of 2013.

Town Councilman Anthony Senft, the board's liaison to the parks department, said after the meeting that he will not vote for a tax increase during this year's budget season.

Cicale said the town will look to recoup the $6 million cost "anywhere we can."

The vote on the cleanup came moments after the town board voted 4-0 to remove Thomas Datre Sr. as a member and chairman of the town's Plumbers' Examining Board, where he has held a seat since 1981. His stipend last year was $8,000.

Newsday reported on Monday that the town has sent letters to four insurance companies linked to Daytree at Cortland Square Inc. -- a company owned by Datre's wife, Clara Datre -- which had a tree and stump removal contract with the town.

In the wake of the Suffolk County district attorney's criminal probe into several possible illegal dumping sites -- which included the raid of "Datre/Daytree" corporate offices in Ronkonkoma -- the town terminated the tree contract. The Datres, who have donated or raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Islip Town Republican Committee, have said they have "nothing to do with" any dumping.

The Datres have said that town and county investigators have failed to separate their company from DFF Farm Corp., owned by their son, Thomas Datre Jr. His attorney, Kevin Kearon, has said his client's company brought only "permissible fill" to the park.

At Tuesday's town board meeting, the council also unanimously approved a $50,150 contract for Enviroscience "to assess the potential for the presence of asbestos and other environmental contaminants" at all 118 town parks, according to the resolution.

Investigators are looking at a possible link between the asbestos-laden debris found at Roberto Clemente Park and asbestos found in a private lot about 11/2 miles north on Islip Avenue in Central Islip.

A town inspection also found asbestos-containing materials at a town-owned park on Clayton and Lowell avenues in Central Islip.


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