The trucks and town's highway department employees have long exited the site and Yorktown supervisor Michael Grace has commended the employees for a "job well done," but councilman Vishnu Patel does not agree.
With a rake in hand, more than a month after the demolition work has been over, Patel dug up the surface of the debris piles that were left behind. He uncovered stones, concrete, metal pieces, insulation and large wooden planks, all covered by the wood chips the town put in place once the demolition was over.
"We have the responsibility to do the right job," Patel said. "They did one third of the work and they created more environmental hazards."
For years residents had been petitioning town board members to take action and demolish the buildings on the 14-acre property that was once an exclusive posh summer resort and weekend getaway.
Officials had budgeted $75,000 for the demolition project, but Grace said the actual cost was cut in half – to $29,000 – by doing the job in-house. In addition, the administration has spent $68,000 for asbestos removal. The town's previous estimates, using outside contractors, was .
Patel said everything was supposed to be leveled once the demolition was over and now the town has not complied with a number of state codes including back-filling the area with grass or mulched with straw, hay or equal to provide a complete cover of grass seed.
"As far as I'm concerned everything was done correctly," Grace said, adding he was not concerned about any stray piece of wood with metal attached to it.
Grace said his concern was to make sure the buildings get demolished. The town placed wood chips where the buildings once stood because of the "enormous amount" of wood chips the town had, Grace said.
"If someone gets hurt, how are you going to get to them," Patel said, referring to the big piles that were placed in front of each of the two entrances, blocking them.
Another issue Patel has is the chimney and another small building that is still standing on the property, but he said they were supposed to be taken down. He said the chimney was left because it was too difficult for the town workers to take down.
Grace said the chimney and the other building could potentially be left there as a historical monument and testament of what used to be there, subject to what the town decides to do with the property.
There are no immediate plans about what the future of the site would be. During a press briefing at the site last month, Grace said selling it to private developers is "always a possibility." He also said a recreational type of use for the property is likely.
"It seems like they buried all the garbage," said Ricci Fonzo, a Mohegan Lake resident who lives across from the site. "I'm afraid if there were foundations of a basement and they filled it with debris or wood chips and it were to rot away, you'll have a sinkhole and that's dangerous."
He called the property "beautiful" – one the town and its residents should be able to enjoy.
To see a video of the demolition, which took place last month, .
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