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Sleepy Hollow Trustees Bicker About Park Cleanup

SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. – Tensions flared at a recent village board meeting when Sleepy Hollow trustees bickered over whether the east side of Douglas Park should be cleaned up.

“Kenny, get something done,” Deputy Mayor Tom Capossela said to Mayor Ken Wray. “Move this show forward. You gotta discuss everything. It's cleaning a park up.”

Baiba Rndzitis Pinnis brought the issue to the attention of the board. Pinnis lives on New Broadway beside the park and said the east side of the park has not been cleaned in years, although the west side is regularly tended to.

Because of this, Pinnis said, weeds and tree damage from winter storms as far back as 2010 prohibit people from using the path from Douglas Park to the Old Croton Aqueduct because it has turned the path into an "obstacle course."

“This is no longer possible,” she said. “The 24-inch weeds and dead wood prevent that.”

Capossela and Village Administrator Anthony Giaccio toured the park when Pinnis brought up the issue to them. Capossela said at the meeting he believed the village should clean up the area, noting Pinnis is not the only resident to complain about the park.

“The homeowners are upset and rightly so that no storm damage has been picked up for the past few years,” Capossela said.

Capossela noted the area was turning into a wooded area where it had always been an maintained as a ballfield area.

Wray said he wanted to continue the discussion before making a decision because he was concerned that the clean-up process would remove natural features of the wooded area.

"I don't want us going in there and clear-cutting," he said. "Douglas Park is a forest. We just put in a new playground to fit-in with the park's unique environment."

Wray also suggested the village's environmental advisory committee should be included in the discussion.

“Kenny, clean the place up. Stop with the environmental advisory committee,” Capossela said. “Clean the mess up.”

Trustee Bruce Campbell asked Capossela not to dismiss the environmental advisory committee offhand, although he acknowledged if the park needed to be cleaned up then it should.

Wray continued to stress he wanted to talk about the issue before taking any action on the park. Capossela disagreed.

“Kenny, take a walk through it,” he said. “It's a mess. It's a mess.”

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