Brentwood residents demand reopening of Roberto Clemente Park
Residents and officials in Brentwood say they are angry that Roberto Clemente Park remains padlocked, and they are demanding a safe place for their kids to play this summer.
It has been four years since anyone has been able to go inside the park, due to the toxic dumping scandal. Thomas Datre Jr. pleaded guilty to toxic dumping at the park, which led to its closure.
Officials announced that starting on May 1, they would begin backfilling the park and said it would take six weeks to complete. The six weeks have come and gone, and residents say they have had enough.
The town says it has made progress, “The maintenance and care of the facility has been a top priority. Town crews have worked to clean up and remove overgrown vegetation and unsafe tree limbs, as well as raise the tree umbrella so Public Safety has a clear view into the park. The playground area has been cleaned and restored, including the repair and replacement of swings and other features. The rusted softball backstop has been removed, and is being prepared as a multi-use field. Both the large ball field and basketball courts are being groomed and cleaned and will soon be available for community use. New bleachers and benches are on site, and bike racks will soon be installed as well.“
The Brentwood community is no stranger to heartache and violence and has been at the center of the MS-13 gang violence this year.
Residents tell News 12 they fear that without a place for their youth to go, the violence will continue.
Town officials said earlier this year that the playground, basketball courts and ballfields would be open this summer.
A Town of Islip spokesperson said in an email to News 12, “The moment the park is completely safe it will be reopened.” There was no word on when that would be.