As part of the ongoing project to clear brush and buildings for more athletic fields at a Riverhead Town park in Calverton, the town rented an excavator and buildings & ground crews started demolishing some of the leftover Grumman picnic buildings there last week.
The Grumman buildings were part of the defense contractor’s former picnic grounds, where the company entertained thousands of workers and their families during summer events until the fighter jet plant ceased operations in the mid-1990s.
Ken Testa, head of the town engineering department, found an excavator to rent for $8,000 after town Highway Superintendent George “Gio” Woodson refused to lend that department’s excavator for the job. His refusal came as part of a prolonged dispute between Mr. Woodson and Supervisor Sean Walter.
Councilman George Gabrielsen, who is spearheading the fields project at EPCAL, predicted last it would cost some $15,000 to rent the excavator.
Crews got started Monday and the buildings were all knocked down by Wednesday, though there was still much cleaning up to do. The rest of the picnic grounds, now overgrown, are adjacent to the four baseball and softball fields the town has built but has yet to open to the public.
The town plans to carve out, mow and maintain two multi-purpose fields once the picnic area is fully cleared.