NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- This past May local and state officials celebrated a $250K New York State grant for the remediation of Beechmont Lake.
At a lakeside ceremony on May 31, New York State Assemblyman Steve Otis announced the state grant was to "help restore the ecological health" of Beechmont Lake.
New Rochelle City Council Member Barry Fertel spoke about using the grant money for "the enhancement and improvement of the lake.”
Mayor Noam Bramson said the funds "together with a strong commitment from the City" will endure the lake is "protected and preserved".
Three weeks later, on the other side of the lake, just across the road from Mayor Bramson's house, the main tributary feeding into Beechmont Lake was being choked with cut weeds and grass illegally dumped into the Pine Brook by contractors hired by the City of New Rochelle. On June 21, 2017, Talk of the Sound observed grass and weeds left in and along the water on Pine Brook and algae forming on the surface of Beechmont Lake.
For years, residents have complained of privately contracted landscapers working on homes along Pinebrook Boulevard illegally dumping grass clippings, leaves and other debris into Pine Brook. This time the guilty party was the City's own contractors.
The public property between the Northbound and Southbound lane of Pinebrook Boulevard was traditionally been maintained by the Department of Public Works' Bureau of Streets & Highways. Since 2014, the work was contracted out to Pat Scanlan Landscaping of New City, NY.
Under the terms of the contract, 128 grass areas throughout the City are to be mowed 14 times a year except for three stream areas including the area around Pine Brook which are to be mowed two times a year.
At all 131 locations, the company is required to pick up and remove all litter and debris -- before mowing and after -- including grass clippings not cut with a commercial mulching mower. In the stream areas, the company must mow from the water to the roadway.
"Other landscapers have deposited grass clippings in the lake in the past and we have taken action," said Kathleen Gill. "Our contractor is also not permitted to do this."
Pat Scanlan, the company President, did not respond to an email seeking comment.