MAHOPAC, N.Y. - Town officials say plans to build a passive park at the property once known as Swan Cove on South Lake Boulevard have not been hampered by the discovery of asbestos in some of the dilapidated bungalows located there.
The town purchased the land, the last remaining public parcel on Lake Mahopac, from developer Frank Cotaj for $1 million in March. The plan is to tear down the eight bungalows, which were built more than 50 years ago and have long since been abandoned and fallen into disrepair.
Councilman Mike Barile, who owned the property before selling it to Cotaj, said his company performed an asbestos abatement on the bungalows six or seven years ago with the intent of tearing down the buildings. However, his project never moved forward, and some small amounts of asbestos still remain.
“Since the project was announced, there have been a lot of people going through [the bungalows],” Barile said. “So, the town decided to have an evaluation done by a licensed inspector.”
Barile said the inspector discovered that in one bungalow there was a linoleum floor that contained asbestos but was covered by the existing floor. Another bungalow contained 20 shingles in a basement area that were hidden because of an addition that had been built.
Barile said estimates for the asbestos remediation first came in at about $9,000, but he expects the cost to actually be around $3,000 to $4,000 before the process is finished.
“We had to do our due diligence and it was incumbent upon us to make sure it was free of asbestos,” said Supervisor Ken Schmitt. “It’s not a lot but there is some. If we didn’t do it, we would have a whole other set of issues. We are just dotting our i’s and crossing our t’s. The cost to remediate is a small number. It’s not a large cost to the town to do this.”
Barile, a longtime developer in the Carmel/Mahopac area, said that the demolition of the bungalows will be done for free by volunteers and he doesn’t think the discovery of the asbestos will change that.
“Some builders and machine operators I know have volunteered to do it free of charge,” he said. “We just have to pay for the [demo debris] containers. It’s really not a big job. [The buildings] will come down in a day or two.”
The park project at Swan Cove is connected to a municipal parking lot project on an adjacent piece of property owned by Tompkins Mahopac Bank. The plan for the parking lot includes tearing down the existing Chamber of Commerce building and constructing the parking lot, with some of that property to become part of the park.
Barile said that while the deal between the town and the bank has not officially closed, they have a deal in principal and the bank is currently reviewing preliminary plans the town has for the property.
“We are waiting for the bank to review the design we gave them to see if it meets their needs,” he said. “They want to make sure their drive-thru window is all right and the parking is adequate for their customers and then wait for DOT to say where they are going to put the [traffic] light. Then we will redo the design in professional form. Then we will figure out what the rest of downtown needs and move forward.”