David's Island water tower razed, cleanup continues
The iconic 114-foot water tower on David?s Island was torn down Tuesday as a part of a long-term plan to revitalize the historic site.
The shoreline of the island, located on the Long Island Sound shore just off the coast of New Rochelle, has been altered forever with the demolition of the tower.
?I had to brace myself knowing that this was going to happen,? says New Rochelle historian Barbara Davis.
The 80-acre island site once housed Fort Slocum, but over the past four decades, the deserted military base has been slowly decaying.
Then, the Army Corps of Engineers commissioned to clean up the island.
?I felt a lot of sensitivity at the beginning of the project as to what we were doing given the history,? says Greg Goepfet, of the Army Corps of Engineers. ?Fort Slocum is gone but not forgotten.?
Despite the ongoing demolition on the island, its future remains uncertain. Over the past several years, there has been much debate about what to do with the site. Some of the options that have been discussed include turning the island into a park and using its land for a development. As of now, however, no decision has been reached.
Davis wants the future of the island to be somehow linked to its past.
?Something to help the next generation learn about [the] history of the island and Long Island Sound in general,? she says.
The public will weigh in on the fate of David?s Island during a series of public hearings.
Until then, work will continue for the remainder of the year while the city studies the soil. PCBs, metals and lead have already been discovered and will need to be removed. The federal government provided $26 million for the cleanup operation.
Crews were able to preserve many artifacts discovered on the island and even its roads and pathways.