On Feb. 12, the park district board held a public hearing on floating a bond for $3.8 million to fund major capital improvement projects as the first step in a five-year master plan to shore up the infrastructure of the parks. A detailed presentation, given by George W. Desmarais of the engineering firm, H2M Group, outlined the urgent projects to be addressed and gave cost estimates based on information from various cost databases, price quotes from equipment manufacturers and recent project bids for similar work.
The board approved the bond and will submit it to the Town of North Hempstead for final acceptance. The document, Capital Repair Projects, is available at the park district's Beach Road office for public perusal.
Great Neck House, a heavily used 100-year-old structure has a multitude of needs such as rotting wood, a cracked foundation and a roof in ill repair. It needs to be made fully handicapped accessible as well. It is estimated that to renovate existing water fountains to be ADA compliant, the cost would be $6,000; to renovate the existing bathroom in the basement to meet ADA codes, $25,000; to repair existing tile roof along with adequate leaders and gutters, $125,000; to repair wood trim, $20,000; to install a new elevator to access the main floor and basement, $150,000; to replace storm windows and repair lead windows, $48,000; extensive structural items would total $46,000; and to repair the parking lot and correct drainage problems and install new sidewalks, $108,000. Also budgeted would be a 10 percent contingency fund, $59,000; as well as engineering, legal and administration costs of 17 percent, amounting to $101,000. The total estimate for taking care of long neglected needs at Great Neck House is $753,000.
At the Andrew Stergiopolous Ice Rink, the major project is to replace the roof over the ice rink at an estimated cost of $255,000 and to replace the roofing over all of the offices along with relocating HVAC units currently mounted on the roof with new ductwork at a cost of $60,000. At the pool, the plan calls for providing an elevator from the lower level to the upper level for $120,000. Repairs to the floor and façade of the Zamboni Room totals $8,000. Mechanical repairs for piping modifications and locker room ventilation costs out at $54,000. At the sports complex, plans call for relocating the existing yard hydrant with a below ground valve pit installation which is estimated to cost $30,000. The tennis center needs a new walkway because of improper drainage, which results in dangerous icy conditions in the wintertime. Estimated cost $25,000. A new roll-up door to allow access to indoor tennis center would cost $20,000. The total price tag for repairing all of Parkwood's facilities comes to $572,000.
Restoration of the facility with particular attention to correcting drainage problems on outside stairways and surrounding areas, new flooring and an entire renovation of the indoor playscape, plus many structural repairs to retaining walls, stairways, foundations and better emergency lighting are envisioned. In addition, the existing boat ramp would be removed and a new precast concrete boat ramp would be installed for $200,000. The flagstone pavers would be removed and replaced for $36,000. The other big project at Steppingstone would be to remove and install a new wading pool and piping and filtration system for $350,000. The total budget cost to totally repair and upgrade Steppingstone Park is estimated at $1,140,000.
The playground is slated for a complete renovation and replacement for $100,000 and an upgrade for lighting and wiring, which currently does not meet code requirements, is estimated at $150,000.
The plan calls for regrading and reconstructing existing ball fields to improve storm water run-off, which is estimated to cost $180,000. An associated cost would be to dredge the pond to increase storm water run-off storage capacity and flush the discharge line at a cost of $20,000.
A spray pool would be installed at a cost of $60,000.
In addition, both Steppingstone Park and Great Neck House are budgeted for electrical upgrades for $225,000. This figure includes contingencies, engineering, legal, administration and electrical engineering evaluation costs.
The board of commissioners is recommending a bond at this time for several stated reasons: First, many of the items are urgent. Limping along, making emergency Úquot;band-aid repairsÚquot; are false savings. For example, one elevator needs costly repairs regularly, to the tune of $20,000 in one year alone. Improvements are also expected to save on energy costs and to lessen maintenance costs. Second, when the park district commissioners held town meetings this past summer, residents urged Commissioners Tamarin, Lincoln and Segalowitz to Úquot;take care of what we already have.Úquot; Third, the financial impact to residents will not be as painful as it appears on first blush because the district has bonds that are being retired that will offset the new bond.
Under the projections, the year not softened by a retiring debt service would be 2005. That year would be $52,000 shy of being covered by retiring debt. Because the district is developing a master five-year plan, they expect to lessen the burden to taxpayers in '05, by keeping discretionary spending down.
A question was raised about the renovation of the wading pool. This was an item that had tremendous positive public input, according to Chairman Ruth Tamarin. She added that because the pool is in such poor condition, it has major leaks causing a waste of water.
Superintendent Neil Marrin said, Úquot;I applaud the board for having the courage to address the ills and needs of the park district. I have never seen a board so willing to preserve and protect a park system.Úquot; He went on to thank the staff members who spent much time evaluating every nook and cranny of the park to help in developing the priorities. Those staff members are: assistant superintendent Peter Renick, Bobby Wancpowski, Curtis Phillips, John Yuska and a resident, engineer Jerome White who volunteered his services.
Commissioner Robert Lincoln said, Úquot;The more we looked, the more bad news we got. While we knew about some of the repairs needed, others were not pleasant surprises. We asked ourselves, how much can we accomplish without raising taxes ... As homeowners know, when it comes to keeping up on maintenance and repairs, you're never done, but we want to leave the park district with a mechanism in place so that repairs can continue on a regular basis.Úquot;
Some of the repairs that have been identified as needed will be done in-house and will not be part of the bond. Some energy saving measures and costs will be picked up by the state as well.
Commissioner Ivar Segalowitz recalled a quote from County Executive Tom Suozzi who once said, Úquot; If you build a new building, you'll get accolades, but if you're just trying to make the toilets flush, you'll get no applause.Úquot; Mr. Segalowitz concluded, Úquot;We are just trying to make the toilets flush.Úquot;