By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Pelham Manor mayor Stephen Rooney confirms that Freeman is a friend, and that when asked for advice, Freeman suggested that Rooney contact Ferris's editor directly.
Esposito posts information about Shore Park at her website, wheatny.org. According to her documentation, until 1976, the site was operated as a pistol range and a dumping ground for ash from the town incinerator. (Lead and ash are known sources of toxins.) In 1976, the site was razed with an eye to turning it into a park, but Esposito claims the village did not perform the kinds of soil and groundwater testing that are typically done prior to renovating landfills. According to a letter Esposito received from the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the village used the park for the disposal of solid waste from 1976 to 1997.
In 2000, the village began renovating Shore Park for recreational use. That same year, Esposito's husband, Anthony Esposito, who dug trenches for the renovation, developed septic bursitis in his elbow and had to be hospitalized. After a specialist asked about exposure to toxins, Esposito and her husband began investigating the history of the park. The village government later fired her husband on disciplinary charges, which he is contesting. Some other workers now claim a "right to know" about toxin exposure, and the activists believe that the only way to determine whether toxins are present is to have soil samples taken by a lab recognized by the DEC or the Environmental Protection Agency.
Mayor Rooney, who is also a corporate lawyer, told the Voice there is no safety hazard at Shore Park and no need to perform the soil tests. Experts have advised Pelham officials that the park is being run in full compliance with the law.
The state attorney general's office confirms that it is now reviewing a complaint about Shore Park.