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Hockey Rink Expected to Reopen in the Spring

Asphalt already laid, rink waits final covering.

The closed roller hockey rink at Harry Dunham Park off Somerville Road in Basking Ridge is expected to open again in the spring, after a final acrylic coating is put on an asphalt base already laid by a contractor hired to refurbish the township recreational facility.

Township Engineer Tom Timko said that the the final color coating must be done in the spring. He said after the facility reopens, the township Department of Parks and Recreation will oversee any scheduling, if any.

The final completion of the facility — the laying of the top coat — is dependent on the weather in terms of temperature and sufficient dry weather, said Jennifer Gander, director of the township parks department.

After it reopens, the facility will be open to those who will to skate on it from dawn to dusk, regular park hours at Harry Dunham Park, unless it has been reserved for a certain period, Gander said.

The rink, which officials said had been used for roller hockey and roller skating, including skaters on wheels or blades, had been closed for more than two years while township officials investigated how to best make repairs to a cracked surface. Work to improve drainage and refurbish sideboards has been part of the project.

For various reasons, it took five times for the township to find 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.

The Township Committee in September awarded a $121,660 contract for the job. By that time, the township's public works employees had been out at the rink removing the side boards from the recreational facility, and digging up the old and cracked asphalt surface to prepare the site for the contractor, Halecon Inc.

Before the contractor arrived, the surface had been smoothed, and gravel had been laid as a base for a future surface, township officials said. Prior to Sandy, township officials said they had hoped to have the work done by the end of this year.

The township's four other attempts at hiring a contractor with an acceptable proposal had failed before during 2011 and 2012.

The price for the project had been recalculated and rebudgeted a number of times. During some bidding attempts, the bids either exceeded the budgeted price and once the paperwork filed was inadequate.

When the contract was finally awarded, Timko and Township Administrator Bruce McArthur had 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.

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