Roberto Clemente Park to Reopen After Toxic Dumping Scandal

Roberto Clemente Park, which has been closed more than two years due to a toxic dumping scandal, will reopen on Monday, officials said. 

The town of Islip confirmed the park will reopen and the closed signs are already down. Officials said the parks commissioner got clearance Friday evening that it was ready for opening. 

Authorities say 32,000 tons of the contaminated soil and debris were dumped in the park over the course of eight months. Authorities found toxic chemicals in the soil, including metals and pesticides along with arsenic and asbestos. 

The park has been closed since May 2014. 

At the time the park was closed, the son of baseball legend Roberto Clemente said the toxic dumping scandal was a travesty but he was looking forward to helping to reopen it and making it "the best park in town." 

"I'm very disappointed," Roberto Clemente Jr. said of the dumping. "I felt they were doing it on me, if you will, because of the name of the park." 

Timberline Park in Brentwood was renamed after the Major League baseball player in 2011.

A plea deal was reached with suspects in the dumping at the park and several other locations in Suffolk County, including a veterans' housing development and a wetlands area.

Tom Datre Jr., 42, has pleaded guilty to four felony counts of endangering the environment for dumping at the Brentwood park, the Islandia veterans housing project and two other sites. In exchange, he was sentenced to one to three years in prison. He was also held responsible for paying for the cleanup. 

Prosecutors had called him the "mastermind" of the scheme. His attorney described the dumping as "a poorly managed project."

Prosecutors said testing found hazardous materials like the pesticide DDT, chlordane, arsenic, cobalt, lead, zinc and petroleum byproducts at all of the dump sites, including the six-acre Deer Park wetlands, adjacent to a creek in the Great South Bay watershed, a Brentwood park, a Central Islip lot and an Islandia neighborhood for war veterans. Asbestos was found at all sites but the veterans' home.

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