Roller Hockey Rink Contract Awarded, Work Underway
Contract more than $50,000 under budget now that public works department doing some of resurfacing and renovation work.
The fifth time evidently was the charm for finding a contractor to resurface, regrade and install a drainage system at the closed roller hockey rink at Harry Dunham Park — and at the right price.
For multiple reasons, the township's four other attempts at hiring a contractor with an acceptable proposal had failed before during 2011 and 2012.
Even before the Township Committee on Tuesday awarded a $121,660 contract for the job, the township's public works employees had been out at the rink off Somerville Road. Trucks and workers had been busy for a few days removing the side boards from the recreational facility, and digging up the old and cracked asphalt surface.
Township Engineer Tom Timko said the next step is to meet with the newly hired contractor, Halecon Inc. of Bridgewater, to discuss such issues as setting a timetable.
Timko said following Tuesday night's Township Committee meeting that the goal is to have the resurfacing done and the rink reopened later this year.
The rink has been closed for about two years, with officials blaming poor drainage for the cracking.
Timko said the contractor will repave and install French drains to improve drainage, and regrade around the outside of the rink. The contractor also may repair some pieces of the wall, which Timko the DPW workers will re-install once the rink itself is done and the fence repaired.
This is the fifth try at finding a contractor to perform the job within the township's budget, which most recently had been $175,000. Before that, the previous budget was above the cost set at $125,000 at that time.
Timko noted that during part of the bidding process, the township had been sued by a resident who sought to have the township do more research or rewrite the bids to make the installation of a plastic tile rink surface rather than the asphalt.
Resident Douglas Wicks had contended that the township could install a plastic tile surface and did not need to make drainage improvements, even attempting to have a Superior Court judge require further investigation into that solution. His legal bid failed.
Although Wicks presented his case, and one bid did include an alternate proposal for plastic tiles, township officials decided to stick with the engineer's recommendation for an asphalt surface for multiple reasons, and also to improve drainage to help ward off future deterioration of the surface. The township left the door open for a possible installation of a plastic surface at some point in the future.
Wicks attended Tuesday's meeting with a jar of material he said showed the soil under the surface was sandy and not subject to drainagle problems. He said he was not given a chance to speak publicly, since the contract was awarded as part of a consent agenda improved with one vote by the Township Committee, and without discussion.
"Mr. Wicks is not an engineer," Timko said following the meeting.
Township Administrator Bruce McArthur said the area is lined with shale.