The Township Committee could at its next meeting, June 26, consider awarding a contract to repair the closed and cracked hockey rink at Harry Dunham Park that has been padlocked for about two years, Township Engineer Tom Timko said.
The third set of bids for a proposed project to fix drainage and put a new asphalt surface was anticipated in late April, with the expectation that a contract might be awarded in May, township officials said in early April.
However, at the end of April, township resident Douglas Wicks—who had complained about the handling of the bid process several times before the Township Committee and also in a letter objecting to the township's move in April to increase the maximum budget for the rink repair to a $175,000—filed a lawsuit in Somerville.
Wicks, who had said that plastic tiles on the surface would be cheaper and longer-lasting, alleged in his complaint that the township's professionals had written specifications in bid packages advertised in 2011 that had not complied with the manufacturer's specifications for the plastic tile surface.
As a result, Wicks contended, the bids received for that part of the specification in last year's advertisement for a contractor to do the job were "excessively high in cost because the specifying engineer did not specify the tiles in accordance with the engineering standards set forth by the manufacturer."
"Had the design been in conformity with the accepted engineering standards
and properly specified according to the manufacturer’s recommendation, the
bids for the tiles would have been less than the [previously approved] $125,000 budget amount and the bid would have been awarded and the project completed," Wicks contended in his complaint.
At previous meetings, Timko had repeatedly said that a underlying drainage problem has been causing the surface of the rink to crack. The township engineer said that neither an asphalt or plastic surface can be laid down unless a system is installed to properly drain the rink, located in a wet area of the municipal park off Somerville Road.
A state Superior Court judge in Somerville on June 4 denied Wicks' order to show cause seeking to stop the current bidding process and to have the specifications for a job including a tile surface to be rewritten.
The first set of bids came in with a proposal for a tile surface with accompanying drainage work at $173,000 — even more than the $142,000 figure for asphalt rejected by the Township Committee last year. The second set of bids were rejected due to improperly filled out paperwork, officials said then.
This April, the Township Committee approved a $50,000 appropriation to add to $125,000 already set aside to completely overhaul the surface, an underlying drainage system and moldy sideboards at the rink. The rink reportedly was built in 2000 and closed since 2010.
"If you put the tiles there, you will just have water laying on the tiles," Timko said earlier this year. The township may want to consider laying a tile surface over the asphalt at some future date after the drainage problem is addressed, Timko said.
Early in April, Timko had said he hopes a contract would be awarded at a Township Committee meeting in May, and construction could start soon on repairing the rink after contracts were signed.
Speaking after Tuesday's official Township Committee meeting, Timko said officials still have to decide whether to award a contract at the next committee meeting, scheduled for June 26.
Either way, Timko said he experts to have some sort of update on the project by the June 26 Township Committee meeting.