Sunrise Edition, By John F. Bailey, Filed 3/04/02,UPDATED 1:00 PM: Councilman William King conducted the second of his King Klean-Up sweeps Saturday morning on Westchester County-owned property on Silver Lake in White Plains.
KING OF THE ROYAL MOUNTED ON PATROL, arrives at Silver Lake Saturday morning for the first of his King Klean-Ups.
Photo by WPCNR
King and three volunteers cleared one-third of a mile of shoreline of bottles, refuse, and assorted litter. The woodsy slope up to fencing of the Pettinichi property on Woodcrest Heights The Councilman’s foray into county “open space,” revealed a shocking neglect of forestry practices.
The King Klean-Up began at 7:15 AM, with the arrival of Kevin McGrath of the White Plains Conservation Board and his son, Dan who were shortly joined by Councilman William King, and another volunteer from the White Plains Middle School, Geoff DeSoye.
DONNING WADERS,FAVORED BY TROUT FISHERMEN, the Councilman, McGrath and Desoye waded into the freezing water armed with rubber gloves and plastic litter pales, fishing for litter.
Photo by WPCNR
One-third of White Plains side of Silver Lake cleared.
After an hour and a half, the vigilante cleaners has cleared about one-third of a mile of deceptively benign-looking shoreline of beer bottles, brake shoes, lead piping, baby carriages and assorted refuse littering the banks and waterbed of Silver Lake.
ISN’T THAT COUNCILMAN BILL KING? Yes, it is, removing human pollution from Silver Lake Saturday morning.
Photo by WPCNR
Sixteen bags of trash were bagged and ready for Department of Public Works pick-up Monday. King said he would notify City Commissioner of Public Works, Joseph Nicoletti of the trash heap for collection.
King Officially Notifies Nicoletti
Mr. King advised the Department of Public Works Monday morning, and released this statement:
“There are two piles of collected trash to pick up, one by the trash receptacle by the parking lot, the other in a little bit, beyond the gate to the Dellwood property, as pictured in the attached website article. Could your 2 depts. have these piles picked up? Thanks.
King also said in his statement:
“There will be more piles showing up in the near future at Dellwood and along the Bronx River Parkway. I keep getting adults saying to me that they would like to help and want to know when the next cleanup will be and would I advertise it (I am telling people to keep April 6 open = when I will be with the girl scouts and maybe boy scouts in the BRPR and possibly also back at Silver Lake and points between).”
“I think people are sick and tired of seeing our parkland and alongside our streets just get more and more littered and appearing to be uncared for.”
Hopes for the future.
King told WPCNR Monday,
“I could have done it all day. I actually have fun doing litter cleanups. My other volunteers usually have to leave after only a few hours. I am telling people about April 6.
Perhaps we can have a couple of armies out there and finish what we started. I want Dellwood to be a de facto park by this Spring. I want to cut back brush and briar patches along the lakefront as well so people can actually put their canoes in and sit on the banks.”
COUNCILMAN KING AND GEOFF DESOYE STANDING WITH SIXTEEN BAGS OF LITTER, they and Kevin McGrath, and Dan McGrath removed from county-owned land for a third of a mile along the shoreline of Silver Lake Saturday. The White Plains Department of Public Works was notified Monday to pick up the trash.
Photo by WPCNR
County, City Collaboration?
King said he had walked the property with county officials William Ryan and George Latimer with Concerned Citizens for Open Space representatives two years, and was enthusiastic about the county-owned land then as possible park for the City of White Plains.
However, he was concerned about the litter dumped there over decades. He reports he has cleaned up himself close to a dozen times since then.He decided to do something about this more dramatically last week.
After a personal clean-up attempt last Wednesday, he enlisted the McGraths for Saturday’s first “King Klean-Up.” A second is planned April 6 for the Bronx River Parkway at 10 AM, enlisting the aid of local Girl and Boy Scout Troops.
An archeological dump
The amount of junk and outright garbage dumped on this property, obviously there for a long time is immediately apparent on just a short walk into the property. The build-up indicates, to this reporter, and to Mr. King the problem with this parcel of passive open space: it has become a dumping ground, and, sadly, a home to the homeless.
Where to spend the night in White Plains at bargain rates.
Two persons were encountered by this reporter, prior to the Councilman’s arrival, obviously rising Saturday morning form spending a night lakeside. One dumped a tattered blanket on his way out of the property. King said he had seen the two in the area Wednesday morning when he stopped by to retrieve litter from the lake for the first time, and felt they had been spending the night in the area for sometime.
WPCNR encountered these two men when we arrived prior to the Councilman’s arrival. We thought they were there to help with the councilman’s clean-up, but they appeared to not have any particular business in the area and did not speak English.
EVIDENCE OF HOMELESS SQUATTING in Silver Lake: a towell soapy and recently used hanging out to dry Saturday morning.
Photo by WPCNR
After the two men had proceeded out of the lake area, last seen walking towards West Harrison, passing McGrath and King and their young helpers as they were preparing to enter the waters, WPCNR inspected the area where we had encountered the two the first time.
There was evidence of a campfire, and a little further down the shoreline a very fresh towel smelling of soap. McGrath reported to CNR on his hikes in the Silver Lake property, he has encountered what he calls “stashes” of belongings, in tarps, that were stowed by persons he believes are using the Silver Lake county property as a base of operations, and a place to spend nights.
OH GIVE ME A HOME BY SILVER LAKE WHERE NOBODY ROAMS: Remnants of a campfire on Silver Lake, observed by WPCNR, after two persons were seen leaving the area at 6:45 AM.
Photo by WPCNR
The problem with passive open space.
It is lovely to look at, but not so lovely to walk through. The results of King’s Klean-Up indicate Westchester County does virtually nothing in the way of forestry to keep the Silver Lake property (which it owns) maintained.
The litter consisted of beer bottles, wine bottles, junk of all kinds, from baby carriages to discarded furniture. It reminds one of empty lots in the Bronx. Huge trunks of rotting trees, there for years, judging by the mushroom growth on them, are encountered. King said the county owns this White Plains land but obviously has little interest in maintaining it for public use.
City reported in negotiations with county to lease the West Bank of Silver Lake property
The Councilman said that the City of White Plains is negotiating with Westchester County to lease the property. However, the county, King said, because of its budget problems, is demanding more than the city feels is fair. King said city leasing of the property would include the ability to build facilities on the property to make it more recreational, and cleaner.
King did not elaborate on what the city had planned, but said the Mayor’s office was dickering with the County. Another city source confirmed that leasing of the West Bank of Silver Lake was being entertained by the City.
The City Recreation Master Plan calls for a trailway along the East Branch of the Mamaroneck River which flows out of Silver Lake, and advocates removal of the litter found in the Mamaroneck River bed flowing on the East boundary of Delfino Park.
Councilman King began Saturday taking clean-up matters, at least into his own hands.