LEVITTOWN - Dozens of homeowners in Levittown say an overgrown property is infesting their neighborhood with bugs, mice and other vermin, and they are placing the blame on the Long Island Rail Road.
Residents on Meridian Road say that while the stretch of property separating their homes with Mallard Road used to be maintained, it has been neglected for quite some time, resulting in an abundance of weeds 5 to 6 feet tall.
On Wednesday, the Town of Hempstead held a news conference where officials slammed the LIRR for the state of the property. Town Supervisor Anthony Santino says the town has been in touch with the agency for at least six years, begging and pleading with the railroad to maintain the property.
If the property were owned by the town, officials say the overgrowth would be cleared and the owner would be charged through the town's tax bill. Since the property is owned by a state agency that does not pay taxes, there is nothing the town could do.
No one actually lives on the 2-mile stretch. According to town historical records, the LIRR's Central Branch ran through there from the late 1800s to the early 1900s.
An LIRR spokesman says in a statement: "The LIRR's vegetation management program must prioritize the 700 miles of active track in need of constant attention for safety purposes, but in response to community outreach we trimmed this decommissioned stretch of railroad just last month, will continue to do so, and will continue to stay in contact with local elected officials, as we have as recently as this week."