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Tree Stump-Strewn Neighborhoods Pose Pricey Problems For Long Island Towns After Sandy

Got An Extra $170,000 A Month To Spare? That's What It Costs To Rent Machines
(credit: CBS 2)

(credit: CBS 2)

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Superstorm Sandy

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork)Superstorm Sandy’s wrath is still being felt on Long Island, where thousands of tree stumps are left sticking perilously out of the ground.

“We have to transport the stump and grind the stump. It’s a long process, especially when you’re talking about thousands and thousands of stumps,” Hempstead Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman told CBS 2′s Jennifer McLogan on Friday.

Hempstead is just one of many Nassau County towns that is dealing with this pricey problem. In Garden City, neighborhoods are strewn with uprooted stumps and shattered sidewalks.

“My wife went for a walk the other night and almost tripped and fell she was tripping over the flags, tripping on all the trees. Who knows when they are going to come back and fix them,” resident Walter Roller said.

Cyclists said they are worried about jagged concrete flattening their tires, and dog owners said that their pets are hurting their paws. Towns told CBS 2 that they are working as fast as possible to fix the problem, but the numbers are staggering.

North Hempstead and Hempstead have 2,000 each to remove, Oyster Bay has 1,000, and Smithtown tops the list with 4,000.

The task of pulling and grinding the stumps is daunting and expensive.

“We have two large machines like this right now and we are renting them, costing the town $170,000 a month,” North Hempstead Superintendent of Highways Thomas Tiernan said.

North Hempstead will eventually shell out up to $20 million to deal with the stump situation. Town officials said they are hoping for a 100 percent reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Towns plan to turn the stumps into mulch and firewood. The city of Long Beach is keeping city-owned stumps in place due to prohibitive removal costs.

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