The Village of New Hyde Park is still dealing with the remnants of Hurricane Sandy, though the power is restored and the massive tree trunks are cleared from the roadways.
The village still has about 25 tree stumps that need to be removed as part of its post-Sandy cleanup. The process is taking longer than expected since each time the village removes a stump National Grid must also be present to ensure the gas mains are also not removed at the same time.
There are also 50-75 sidewalk areas around the village that are in need of repair after being lifted and damaged due to the uprooted trees.
“Unfortunately our requirements contractor who we’ve been trying to get into the area to begin the work may not be available until next Wednesday at the earliest,” deputy mayor Robert Lofaro said during the November 20 meeting of the village board at the village hall, noting that the village may bring in a different company.
“We have some areas where there’s basically holes in front of people’s houses where trees were and we really need to get to those as quickly as we can.”
A county payloader was supposed to have come to cleanup the pile at the department of public works garage on November 17 but failed to arrive. Lofaro said that the village would contact the county again on November 19 to inquire when crews would be removing the debris.
“That is another chapter that we want to get behind us,” Lofaro said. “We don’t want to worry about having piles of tree branches and the like when we might be coming into snow season.”
The village resumed leaf collection on November 15, which was pushed up from November 17 to avoid sections of the village that collected on Thursday and Friday due to Thanksgiving. Two leaf trucks were out with every street picked up at least once by November 19.
The parks & recreation department would like to thank Thomas Fitzpatrick and members of Boy Scout Troop 298 who went into Memorial Park and Nuzzi Park to clear debris and fallen tree limbs as part of a community service project on November 18.
The village did experience some wear and tear on some of its equipment after Hurricane Sandy, most notably its 18-year old woodchipper which broke down.
“It may be time to start looking into a new one,” superintendent of public works Tom Gannon said.
The only damage sustained to the village garbage trucks was a piston that needed to be replaced.
“It was a heavy load on them,” Gannon said. “It was non-stop to do the garbage route and then again to go all day long crushing branches and pulling in the yard waste that people were dragging out. Our equipment kept going for us.”
One piece of “invaluable” equipment was a hydraulic claw on the village bucket/payloader.
“I guess at the time it was purchased someone would have asked the question ‘do we really need that?’ but at least for stump removal and other debris, when you have a regular payloader you’re just pushing unless you have something that you can push it into,” Lofaro said. “But this basically had the ability to claw and pull into the bucket.”
The village board continued their criticism of LIPA as the utility’s outage map had still up until recently showed a significant amount of residents in the village as being without power. LIPA numbers showed surrounding communities such as Garden City Park and Herricks as having less than 5 without power, Floral Park having less than 20 with no electricity, but 86 homes still in the dark in New Hyde Park.
“We were just astounded by that number,” Lofaro said. “Why do we have 86 residents (out)?”
After petitioning LIPA, the utility provided the lists of blocks without power, which included both Stewart Avenue and Highland Avenue, both of which had power.
“Basically 86 went to zero the next day,” Lofaro said. “The numbers were totally inaccurate. We believe everyone in the village does have power.”
The village has not received further e-mails or phone calls from residents about lacking power, thus leading to the conclusion that service has been fully restored.
“Hopefully many people have learned from this and we as local officials will not be kept in the dark,” Lofaro quipped.