Tags Posts tagged with "Brookhaven Town Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro"

Brookhaven Town Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro

Brookhaven intends on completing the North Country Road repaving, having recently come close to finishing a section in Miller Place. Photo by Kyle Barr

The Town of Brookhaven has come close to  finishing a single section of a much larger project along North Country Road.

This past weekend, Brookhaven finished paving and painting the lines along North Country Road in Miller Place from Honey Lane to the Miller Place Duck Pond, over to the entrance to the Laddie A. Decker School on Lower Rocky Point Road. The new resurfacing includes fixing the drainage along the side of the road and the installation of sidewalk and curbing. The new road and sidewalks pass in front of several area staples like the Town & Country Market, McNulty’s Ice Cream Parlor and the William Miller House.

According to the town Highway Department and Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro (R), the North Country Road Highway project is actually a combination of three separate capital improvement projects. 

The New York State Department of Transportation grant received by the Highway Department funded 60% of the “complete streets” portion of this project, which is the new paving in Miller Place. The contractor responsible for this section of the project should complete their work within the next few weeks. This part of the project came now in order to finish before schools reopened in September.

The second section of this project was the sidewalk and curb installation on North Country Road that was completed in 2019 from the entrance to the Laddie Decker School to Echo Avenue. The Highway Department resurfaced that section of North Country Road Aug. 6.

The final section of this project is North Country Road from Washington Avenue to Route 25A in Sound Beach. Highway crews are completing the preparation work on this stretch of road this week, with the milling and resurfacing of this section to be completed within the next few weeks.

The Brookhaven Highway Department has included in its 2021 budget request to install a significant amount of drainage infrastructure on North Country Road from Pipe Stave Hollow Road to Honey Lane to remove the water from the roadway. Once the drainage work is complete, that final section of roadway will be resurfaced.

This will complete the paving of North Country Road from the Village of Port Jefferson border to Route 25A at the Rocky Point/Miller Place border.

In July, the town announced the finalized resurfacing of Lower Rocky Point Road from Woodhull Landing Road to Rocky Point Landing Road, as well as Hagerman Landing Road. The town is also currently active milling 37 roadways all over Sound Beach. Once milling is complete at a near future date, weather permitting, all roads will be resurfaced. 

Final details about the North Country Road project, including the total cost, grant funding and photos will be available when the project comes to completion in the next few months.

A mountainous pile of plant and tree debris at one of Brookhaven's highway yards where the material is being cut up and mulched. Photo from Town of Brookhaven

Officials from the Town of Brookhaven highways department said they were still in the process of picking up all debris from Tropical Storm Isaias that residents put out to the curb Sunday, Aug. 9. It may be another two weeks for the town to fully pick up every tree limb and leaf.

A mountainous pile of plant and tree debris at one of Brookhaven’s highway yards where the material is being cut up and mulched. Photo from Town of Brookhaven

The town originally asked residents to bring organic debris strewn about by Tropical Storm Isaias to the curb by Sunday, Aug. 9 for pickup the following day. In a statement, town Highways Superintendent Dan Losquadro said the amount of debris has meant it has taken time to get to every single street in the thousands of miles of town roads. All debris is being taken to 18 highway department yards and temporary staging areas across the town.

“We appreciate residents getting their debris to the curb in a timely fashion,” Losquadro said in a statement. “I anticipate it will take at least another two weeks before we are able to get to all 3,700 lane miles of road in Brookhaven town. If we have not made our way to your neighborhood yet, please leave all brush and debris at the curb for this one-time bulk collection.”

A spokesperson for the highways department said the town is broken up into four quadrants, and the head of each quadrant is effectively going through it street by street to make sure all the debris is cleaned up. This, combined with the excess amount of debris kicked up by Isaias is why it has taken long for some streets to see pickup. Otherwise roads that are being milled or paved have been given priority.

Officials asked that residents keep the debris in front of their house in the time being until the pickup process has concluded.

In a town board meeting Aug. 13, Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) thanked the town highway workers who he said have been working 12 to 14 hour shifts working on the cleanup effort. The town saw over 1,600 trees come down, and more than 400 were involved with power lines.

Brookhaven finalized repairs on Lower Rocky Point Road this past week. Photo from TOB

Brookhaven Town Highway Superintendent Daniel Losquadro (R) and Councilwoman Jane Bonner (R-Rocky Point) announced the complete resurfacing of Lower Rocky Point Road from Woodhull Landing Road to Rocky Point Landing Road, as well as Hagerman Landing Road.

Residents have noticed the repaving of the thoroughfare over the past few weeks, which included some need for cars to take detours to avoid construction. Officials said in a press release that the paving project included the milling of nearly 38,000 square yards of roadway, before 4,400 tons of asphalt were put down on the roadway. The total cost for this paving project was approximately $448,300, a portion of which, $138,643, was funded by a Community Development Block Grant.

Losquadro called the road “a very busy, main thoroughfare,” adding, “I am glad we were able to include it, along with Hagerman Landing Road, in our 2020 paving season.”

Bonner said Lower Rocky Point Road is one of the most traveled in her council district.

“This road and Hagerman Landing Road are much safer for drivers, bike riders and pedestrians,” she said.

Left, the Broadway Beach ramp was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in 2012; right, the newly recostructed stairs and drainage system installed by Brookhaven town in 2020. Photos from Town of Brookhaven

Last week, the Town of Brookhaven highway department announced it had completed the $1.165 million stormwater treatment and shoreline stabilization project at the northern end of Broadway in Rocky Point, finishing a slate of over $6 million projects since Hurricane Sandy ravaged Long Island’s coastline eight years ago.

Town officials said the Broadway Beach sustained extensive damage including substantial sand, beach grass and vegetation erosion, as well as the destruction of the gabion-basket wall system, the beach access stairway and the concrete walkway after Sandy in 2012. 

At the end of last year, the town voted to enter into an agreement with the North Shore Beach Property Owners Association to start the project, which was set to start in early 2020 and finish by Memorial Day, May 25. 

In order to reduce risk of damage from future storm events, the gabion-basket walls were completely removed and replaced with steel bulkhead for toe of slope stability and an armor stone revetment wall. Highway officials said the bulkhead — which now protects areas of the bluff that have experienced significant levels of erosion in the past — has a much longer life span than the gabion-basket walls and will better protect the drainage infrastructure and shoreline from high storm surges, nor’easters and hurricanes. A new drainage system and stormwater treatment unit were also designed and incorporated into this project, ensuring that polluted stormwater is not directly discharged into the Long Island Sound.

“The completion of this project will ensure that we are less vulnerable to damage from future storms,” said Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro (R) in a release.

The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency Hazard Mitigation Program has approved for 90 percent reimbursement of the total project cost of $1,165,000. U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY1) helped secure a total of $4.5 million in FEMA grants. The last 10 percent, or $116,500, comes from the town’s highway budget as a capital project.

In the release, Zeldin said the project is “bolstering our area’s storm resiliency,” and is “preventing future water damage.”

This project is the last of a $6 million total Hurricane Sandy response for nearly a decade. This includes:

• Gully Landing Road, Miller Place — Total Cost: $1.4 million; 90 percent funded by FEMA

• Shore Road and Amagansett Drive, Sound Beach — Total Cost: $1.3 million; $233,651 FEMA funded

• Friendship Beach, Rocky Point — Total Cost: $1,045,648; 90 percent FEMA funded

• Hallock Landing Road, Rocky Point — Total Cost: $996,829; 90 percent funded by FEMA

• Sills Gully Beach, Shoreham — Total Cost: $875,000; 90 percent FEMA funded

• Riverhead Drive, Sound Beach — Total Cost: $239,210; 90 percent FEMA funded

• Landing Road, Miller Place — Total Cost: $145,845; 90 percent FEMA funded

• Woodhull Landing Beach, Sound Beach — Total Cost: $70,000

• Hagerman Landing Road, Rocky Point — Total Cost: $43,572

The hill going down on West Broadway in Port Jefferson is well known for its potholes and ripped up pavement. Photo by Kyle Barr

A section of North Shore roadway will benefit from new state funding for the renewal of streets impacted by extreme weather events.

New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced Jan. 23 that $151 million in new funding to complement $743 million in direct state aid provided through the PAVE NY Initiative for local road and bridge projects. Of the new allocation, $6.6 million will be used to renew Route 25A from Nicolls Road in Stony Brook to Main Street/East Broadway in Port Jefferson, according to a press release from the governor’s office.

A portion of Route 25A in Setauket will benefit from state aid. Photo by Rita J. Egan

“New York continues to make nation-leading investments in the renewal and modernization of the state’s roads, bridges, transit systems and airports,” Cuomo said in the release. “These investments are laying the foundation to ensure sustained growth throughout the 21st century in tourism, business and workforce development, and economic opportunities.”

According to the release, the improvement will enhance highway safety and reduce the roughness of roads, which in turn will make them more fuel efficient. Work is estimated to begin this spring and be completed in the winter of 2020.

State Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) brought the severity of local road conditions to the attention of the state Department of Transportation last year, according to a press release from his office. The designated areas have been subjected to serious degradation due to water seepage into road seams and large clusters of filled potholes creating rutted, uneven and unsafe surfaces. One of the worse sections is the roadway near the East Setauket Post Office to CVS, but other sections have deteriorated rapidly, including the hill from Poquott into Port Jefferson.

“Last summer, we noticed an acceleration in the deterioration of different sections of Route 25A,” Englebright said in the statement. “So, I met with DOT staff to communicate the urgent need for repair. After evaluation of the road confirmed the urgency, [NYSDOT] regional director, Joseph Brown, indicated that he would do his best to find funds to do repairs. We want to thank the regional director and his staff for working to include the main highway of our community in this funding program.”

Town of Brookhaven Highway Supervisor Dan Losquadro (R) said while he’s always grateful when he hears of state funding coming the town’s way, when he heard the recent news, he was disappointed as to how little aid was coming to Suffolk County. He pointed to the fact that the section of Route 25A is the only one designated in the area. He added there is a desperate need for state funding to be reinstated for work on Route 347, specifically for the Nicolls Road overpass and intersection.

Losquadro said he will continue conversations with state legislators about state roads, also the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program, otherwise known as CHIPS, allocation for local streets.

“I really hope that this is a starting point and not an endpoint when it comes to the proposal for funding for infrastructure for Long Island, because paving one road in Suffolk County really isn’t to me an adequate investment on the part of the state Legislature,” Losquadro said.

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Broadway Beach in Rocky Point still shows major storm damage. Photo by Kyle Barr

Town of Brookhaven highway officials are completing the final FEMA-funded project to shore-up Brookhaven shoreline following Hurricane Sandy, the storm that wrecked Long Island’s coastline nearly 7½ years ago.

At its Dec. 5 meeting, the Town Board voted unanimously to enter into an agreement with the North Shore Beach Property Owners Association to go in and add a new stone revetment and bulk heading to halt erosion, but also adding an interceptor unit at the end of Broadway in Rocky Point, one that town Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro (R) said will treat runoff for sediment and organic material before it outfalls into Long Island Sound. The project is expected to start early in 2020 and finish by Memorial Day. Losquadro said he doesn’t expect any major difficulties in construction.

“The storm presented an opportunity — building it stronger so it doesn’t get damaged later,” he said.

While the town only got federal approval for the project last year, the costs comes in at about $1.2 million, with 90 percent being taken up by Federal Emergency Management Agency funds secured in part, Losquadro said, by U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY-1). The last 10 percent, or $120,000, comes from the town’s highway budget as a capital project.

The interceptor unit is a large concrete drum that will lie somewhere under the road.

Losquadro said the town has been involved with 10 other Sandy-related projects on the North Shore since the storm hit, which not only look to repair storm damage but help prevent future injury to the shoreline. The town has spent around $12 million in FEMA and their own funds with these construction projects, he said.

Many of the roads lying nearest to the shore are named some combination of “gully” and “landing,” with many of these streets being low-lying areas where water naturally congregates. Where once they were dirt and gravel, paving them has led to drainage complications. Much of the land is privately owned, such as the case of the end of Broadway and the connected beachfront. 

“There’s been a number of homeowner associations we’ve had to work with,” the highway superintendent said. “A lot of these drainage easements go through private properties.”

A representative of the NSBPOA did not return calls for comment from their clubhouse.

Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro. Photo by Phil Corso

The responsibilities of the Brookhaven highway superintendent prove to be a daunting task, as it is the third biggest highway department in the state. The position oversees thousands of miles of roads and we feel that Dan Losquadro (R) is still the right man for the role. He has done an admirable job with the budget given to him in fixing roads throughout the town. 

While some residents may not be fond of Losquadro, they do deserve a more transparent process and more communication on when work is being done. Putting a list of expected road work on the Town’s website as his challenger Anthony Portesy (D) proposed is a good idea to qualm residents’ questions and concerns. It would probably lessen the amount of calls and letters his office receives. 

We commend his challenger, Portesy, for deciding to run again for this position, as he brought in fresh ideas and enthusiasm. We believe with enough experience down the line Portesy could make himself an attractive candidate for other offices in the town or other municipalities. We hope he continues to stay involved in the local community and politics.  

Anthony Portesy is running again for highway superintendent. Photo from Portesy’s campaign

By Leah Chiappino

At his kickoff fundraiser, Anthony Portesy, the Democrat who is challenging incumbent Dan Losquadro (R) for Town of Brookhaven highway superintendent, held up a piece of asphalt he found while campaigning on Holbrook Road, he said, to symbolize the condition of Brookhaven’s streets. Having run in 2017 for the same position, Portesy said he looks to bring changes to what he calls “an infrastructure crisis” in Brookhaven.

Anthony Portesy is running again for highway superintendent. Photo from Portesy’s campaign website

“Since 2017, I’ve knocked on between 15,000 and 20,000 doors and I hear the same thing from people,” he said. “They want more information and to know when the plow and paving trucks are coming. They call seven times to get a street light fixed, and it still hasn’t gotten fixed.”

A native of Selden, later living in Centereach and now living in Port Jefferson Station, Portesy said he’s running because when he was growing up the roads were “atrocious,” and not much has changed. 

“The same potholes I went over as a kid, I go over now,” he said in his acceptance speech for the nomination.

 “I’ve seen my friends leave,” he said. “No one is going to want to buy a house if the streets are prone to flooding, and are pothole ridden. Brookhaven is looking more like Detroit, and less and less like a middle-class Long Island hamlet.”

Portesy, who is running on the Democratic, Working Families and Libertarian tickets, currently practices employment and commercial litigation for small-to-midsize businesses, largely in federal court. He feels this prepares him well for the position. Specifically, while studying at the New York Law School in Manhattan, he interned for city Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services.

He claims that after reviewing the contracts for projects the Losquadro has executed since he began his tenure as highway superintendent in 2013, residents deserve better.

“We can do things like potentially lowering the bonding requirements so small businesses can bid on projects and save the taxpayer money,” he said.

Portesy claims Losquadro has wasted $18 million doing “surface level mill-and-fill road resurfacing projects,” which the challenger said only work for about 30 percent of the roads that are “crumbling less than a year after the paving projects are completed.”

“I could very easily spend my free time going to Greece or Italy, but I chose to be involved because I care.”

— Anthony Portesy

“Doing 2 1/2 inches of topcoat as opposed to 1 1/2 inches may be more expensive, but it can give us 25 to 30 years, as opposed to two or three,” Portesy said. 

According to the highway superintendent’s office, the current backlog for town projects sits at around $80 million, compared to a $120 million backlog when Losquadro took office. The highway budget is expected to increase to$150 million over the next 10 years.

The challenger acknowledged there are issues with funding to pave properly. His solution is to work to increase funding through the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program, a state program known as CHIPS that provides reimbursement to municipalities for highway-related capital projects, which he said will “take pressure off the local taxpayer.”

His main policy platform is his Brookhaven 2030 initiative, a series of changes he feels the township should complete within 10 years, much of which focuses on expanding information technology.

The first includes his “worst to first initiative,” a program he said would bring structural engineers in to evaluate the quality of every road, and rate them from the worst to the best. The town would then resurface them based on funding, and in order of highest priority, with rapid response to potholes near schools and main roads. 

He also admitted that while day paving may be inconvenient, it is more expensive to do at night, and is not financially feasible to do neighborhood roads after dark. He added there will be a public list available online so people know exactly when their roads are being paved.

In addition, the Democratic challenger said he would post the contracts and bids publicly on an online database, so “the public can be informed of who is getting the contracts and why,” as opposed to “hiding behind a cloud of secrecy that the Highway Department has done for decades.”

In response to Losquadro’s claims that posting the contracts is illegal, Portesy said that they are unfounded.

“I am a lawyer who has done my research, and if Mr. Losquadro can point out to me a statute that says it is illegal, I would love to see it,” he said. “I haven’t found one state or town ordinance that says so.”

Another initiative, Portesy said, is known as STAR, or snow tracking and removal, includes installing GPS in snowplows that cannot be unplugged, so constituents can track the plows online, and gain an estimate of when the plows will arrive. He said he will ensure that all plows have a rubber bumper to ensure the roads are not torn up. 

He pledges to do quality control inspections as well as bringing much of a work back to town employees, including hiring more workers and bringing back the “black top crews” — town workers who used to handle smaller projects. 

Portesy said he was a longtime member of the UFCW Local 1500 supermarket union, and supports union labor. He called the highways workers “some of the hardest working guys in the business. They are out at 4 in the morning plowing the roads for ‘48 hours’ at a time, and don’t see their families. They earn every dime and deserve an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work.”

The final initiative is the tree removal interactive management, or TRIM initiative, which would create an interactive map of all drainage and recharge basins that have overgrown shrubbery. 

“The same potholes I went over as a kid, I go over now.”

— Anthony Portesy

“No one does this if they don’t care about the community. This has affected my personal relationship, and my personal life. I could very easily spend my free time going to Greece or Italy, but I chose to be involved because I care,” Portesy said. 

So far, he has a war chest in excess of $16,300. Losquadro has raised almost $400,000, according to the New York State Board of Elections. Portesy acknowledges Losquadro has more campaign contributions and name recognition, but also points out that increased political involvement regarding everything that is going on nationally could work in his favor.

“Regardless of how you feel about the president, which I take no qualms about and express no opinion on, local elections that people did not pay attention to before are now on the minds of the average Joe who did not pay attention before,” Portesy said. “It’s tough to beat an incumbent, but we can’t wait for an open seat.”

The article originally printed in TBR News Media papers said Portesy had worked in the highways department as a laborer. This has been corrected online to say he was a longtime member of a union.

Sections of roadway in Mount Sinai show heavy wear. Photos from Repave Mount Sinai Neighborhood Streets petition

“We just want our streets paved. We are not asking for much,” said Richard Colacino, who lives on Westcliff Drive in Mount Sinai. 

Sections of roadway in Mount Sinai show heavy wear. Photos from Repave Mount Sinai Neighborhood Streets petition

This past week, Colacino, along with several other Mount Sinai residents, sent a letter and petition signed by more than 160 other residents to Dan Losquadro, the Town of Brookhaven Highway Superintendent, stating that their streets are in dire need of repair and repaving and resurfacing. 

“It’s been 25+ years since our neighborhood streets have been repaved,” the letter reads. “In addition to being an embarrassing neighborhood eyesore, our streets have now deteriorated to the point of being a safety issue.” 

Two of those streets are Westcliff and Marcy Drive. Residents say many children in the neighborhood have gotten injured playing in the streets and riding down the slight hills due to uneven pothole repairs, loose asphalt pebbles, rough patch fixes and crumbling curbs. 

Residents also pointed out six other streets that have similar problems including Helen Street, Hartwell Drive, Rita Drive, Whitcomb Avenue, Walcott Court and Chestnut Street. 

Colacino said the conditions of their roads are laughable at this point. 

“The streets and the curbs are so bad,” he said. “It has gotten so bad that when it rains it just floods people’s driveways.”

Violet Baker, a fellow resident on Westcliff Drive, said within the past couple of years there have been some minor patch work and repairs down on some streets but argues the need for full resurfacing and repaving. 

“They have patched some of the potholes but that only works for a little bit,” she said. “It doesn’t last long, and it is only putting a Band-aid on this thing.”

In addition, Baker said residents have been waiting two years for the town to get rid of trees that have been troublesome and been breaking up curbs alongside their roads. During the winter months the roads have been prone to collapse and break up quicker from the adverse weather. “There are no sidewalks, so a lot of people use the streets to walk. Kids play here with their bikes and skateboards,” she said. “The [condition of] streets is devaluing the neighborhood.”

“We are not asking for much.”

— Richard Colacino

Colacino and others said they have been trying to get their streets repaved and repaired for the past four years, adding that in 2015 the highway department had sent an inspector to the neighborhood to survey the condition of the streets. After the inspection, their streets were put on Brookhaven’s 100 worst streets list. Colacino was hopeful at the time that the streets would get fixed quickly, but a year went by without any significant repairs done.

The Mount Sinai resident then sent a letter to Losquadro’s office the following year and again in 2018. On those two occasions, he was told that they weren’t on the department’s schedule for that year and that there was no need to continue to contact the office as they were already in the system. 

“They keep saying ‘next year, next year,’” the Mount Sinai resident said. “[It’s been] four years of not knowing when they are coming.”

In response, Losquadro said he appreciates the residents for the petition and it is a neighborhood they know needs to get work done.  

“We are not ignoring the community of Mount Sinai,” the highway superintendent said. 

Losquadro mentioned that they had done work this year nearby on Mount Sinai Avenue.  

Asked about the reason for the delay in long-awaited repairs in the neighborhood, the highway superintendent said he works with a finite budget each year and they do work based on the condition of the streets, not age. 

Losquadro said the work is not done arbitrarily, and some roads are worse
than others. 

“I can say this [neighborhood] will be part of our scope of work for next year,” he said. “Those streets have already been engineered and measured out.”

Sections of roadway in Mount Sinai show heavy wear. Photos from Repave Mount Sinai Neighborhood Streets petition

Besides the letter and petition sent to Losquadro’s office, residents sent packets to other local officials including Supervisor Ed Romaine (R), County Executive Steve Bellone (D) and Councilwoman Jane Bonner
(R-Rocky Point). 

Baker said it has been so long and all they want is a definite time frame of when the work on the streets will be done. 

The highway superintendent said with the town supervisor already promising to increase this budget for next year, he hopes he can get more work done. The department’s last year’s budget was $10 million, but in the previous State of the Town address by Romaine, Losquadro was told he will receive $12 million.

“It is getting through that backlog of streets, there is far more work that needs to be done,” he said. “We ask people to continue to be patient as we continue to work on that backlog.”

Baker was disappointed with the highway superintendent’s response. 

“I wish we had a more definitive answer. We have been waiting,” she said. “It’s not the best answer but not the worst [either]. I hope it is true this time and we’ll have to wait and hope for the best.”

Colacino wasn’t surprised with what Losquadro had to say.  

“I think it’s more of the same. It’s always next year,” he said. “At least we got an answer and people are going to hold him to it. We are not giving up on this fight. This is something we believe in.”

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New medians on Stony Brook Road with mulching instead of asphalt will need regular weeding unless replaced. Photo by Rita J. Egan

Determining who is responsible for the upkeep of medians on Stony Brook Road is causing some community confusion.

“There was definitely a misunderstanding about who was going to be responsible for maintaining all of the medians.”

— Lee Krauer

Earlier this year, the Town of Brookhaven replaced old street lights on the road’s five medians with decorative, energy-efficient lights, replaced asphalt with mulch and took down dead trees, according to town Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro (R). The changes were a result of meetings with the Friends of Stony Brook Road, a committee of six residents whose goal is to beautify the street.

During the meetings, Losquadro said he talked to the residents about the upkeep of the medians, saying it would be up to them due to median maintenance not being in his budget.

“Vegetated medians are very labor intensive, and the understanding was that if we were going to do something vegetated that it would have to be done with a public-private partnership, and they would have to maintain it,” Losquadro said.

Lee Krauer, chair of Friends of Stony Brook Road, said the group didn’t agree to maintaining the whole median, only anything they would plant on the median.

“There was definitely a misunderstanding about who was going to be responsible for maintaining all of the medians,” Krauer said.

After the mulch was in place, Krauer said the Friends group enlisted the help of landscaping architects who donated their time. She said they were looking into low-maintenance plantings that would spread and wouldn’t need a lot of water or weeding. They discovered there was a roadbed from the original Stony Brook Road underneath six inches of mulch, which made it difficult to plant anything. The mulch would need to be built up or the original roadbed would have to be torn up, which would cost thousands, according to Krauer.

“We’re trying to do something to really help the community and keep our community looking pretty.”

— Lee Krauer

“Because we can’t do anything with the depth of the soil, we’re kind of between a rock and a hard place,” she said, adding the group also looked into grants.

At an Aug. 22 meeting at the Stony Brook firehouse, Losquadro said he told the group he could schedule one cleanup for the season but that’s all his budget would allow. At the same meeting, the Friends of Stony Brook talked about options for the future including covering the medians with concrete. Losquadro said it can be done but would have to go through the town’s capital projects and not the highway department.

Krauer said the group would add potted plants to the medians if concrete was used and would take care of the plants, which was part of their original beautification visioning.

“I assume that we will be able to work cooperatively with Dan, and that he’s going to do the stamped concrete,” Krauer said. “And then we can come up with some pots or some sort of design that we can get plantings there one way or another, and we will maintain the plantings.”

Losquadro said he urges the group to think it through before committing to the concrete.

The Friends of Stony Brook is also looking for someone who is knowledgeable about garden districts to speak at one of its future meetings as setting up a district is an option that they would consider.

“We’re trying to do something to really help the community and keep our community looking pretty,” Krauer said.

Maintenance of the medians was delegated to an unlikely source for the time being. Inmates from the Suffolk County Correctional Facility recently weeded the five medians on the street as part of the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Labor Assistance Program, which allows qualifying nonviolent prisoners to volunteer to work
outside of the correctional facility.

Losquadro said he was familiar with the sheriff’s program from using it in the past for graffiti removal and beautification projects. He said he reached out to the office to see if they could handle a median cleanup, which would prevent him from pulling a town crew from elsewhere to weed.

“This really allows us to get two things done at the same time,” he said. “I was very grateful that the sheriff’s office was able to accommodate us.”