DA: Suffolk County park became illegal dumping ground

N.J. Burkett reports on a wrecked park in Brentwood. (WABC)
May 6, 2014 9:05:39 PM PDT
Roberto Clemente Park has been closed and its future is uncertain after a criminal investigation has uncovered evidence of illegal dumping and asbestos contamination at the park.

"It is becoming clearer and clearer that an environmental nightmare is unfolding in Roberto Clemente Park," said Thomas Spota, the Suffolk County district attorney.

Prosecutors said a local church asked town officials for permission to level-off and regrade the Brentwood park's soccer fields. Once the plan was approved, contractors, who have not yet been named by investigators, offered to help the church. But the park ended up reduced to mounds of construction debris like bricks, cement, auto parts and broken glass.

The church "pleaded with the individuals to stop the dumping," said Spota. "The church complained to employees of the town, who insisted this was fine."

He said it stayed that way for months and the park is now contaminated with the summer just weeks away.

"How could this possibly be?" said Spota.

Residents also are now worried about the health of their children who played at the park. And some children said they will miss using it"I was looking forward to going in the pools," said one girl.

The park is closed indefinitely while the D.A. and two state agencies investigate.

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