A "staging area" for response to the coronavirus outbreak at James Baird State Park has sparked curiosity for visitors, with its purpose unclear.
Five refrigerated tractor-trailers and a refrigerated rental truck are parked in a lot near the Turtle Walk Playground around the center of the LaGrangeville park. In front of them are plastic barricades, branded as belonging to the state park's department with signs saying “This is a staging area for COVID-19 Response. Please Do not Block or park near barricades.” None of the trucks were running Monday morning.
The state health, parks and emergency management department have not returned Journal inquiries regarding their purpose.
Colleen Pillus, spokesperson for the Dutchess County Executive's Office, said the county Department of Emergency Response is "aware the trucks are there and have been for at least a week. Beyond that, we have no other information."
Such tractor-trailers have been used as makeshift morgues, most commonly outside New York City hospitals, with their images becoming synonymous in recent weeks with the horrors of the pandemic. However, it's not clear if the trucks at the park along the Taconic State Parkway have anything to do with such a use.
Shanon O'Hearne, a 54-year-old Millbrook resident, was walking around the state park near noon Monday and was among several readers who have reached out to the Journal with questions.
"What’s in there, what are they staging? Why here? Should we be concerned? Are they for us, or for elsewhere?" O'Hearne asked. "Although it is comforting that they are here."