YORKTOWN, N.Y. – The environmental safety of the Yorktown Highway Department’s efforts in tearing down 14 dilapidated structures at the former Holland Sporting Club in Mohegan Lake that saved the town approximately $60,000 was called into question this week by Council member Vishnu Patel and a local environmentalist.
Patel and a Linda Miller of Dunning Drive raised concerns this week about potentially contaminated debris that remains on the site and the manner in which the cleanup was done.
"I was very happy to see the old buildings were demolished but I was appalled at how it was done," said Miller. "I think we have taken a step back."
Miller questioned how Highway Superintendent Eric DiBartolo and his crew were allowed to complete the project without any environmental review or input from the town's Conservation Board. Yorktown did pay a company to remove asbestos on the property before the demolition took place.
Over a five-day period, highway workers filled 49 trash bins with 304 tons of debris on the 14-acre site, which overlooks Mohegan Lake. The cost to Yorktown was $29,748, which was well below original estimates from outside contractors of $90,000.
"As far as I can tell the place is stabilized and it's in good shape," said Supervisor Michael Grace. "They did a very good job and the building inspector signed off on the job. I have no information that any construction debris has been buried on the site."
Patel said he hasn't seen any paperwork from the building inspector and dumped a trash bag full of material he picked up on the property to illustrate how he feels the job was shabbily done.
"You want to say everything is hunky-dory. People will judge it," Patel said. "It's an environmental issue. If nobody wants to do it, I will bring in volunteers. I don't want anyone to get hurt. I will personally make this place better than it was."
Council member Nick Bianco said the complaints being raised were what he feared when the board gave DiBartolo the green light to work on the property.
"I applaud Councilman Patel for his vigor and his passion. I was against the highway superintendent from doing this because there's no winning here. If he parted the water he would have been criticized," Bianco said. "I spoke with the building inspector. He believes the job was a little bit sloppy but he doesn't think anything there is wrong. It's not a Cadillac job, it's a Toyota job type of thing."