Weekly Feature



2018-09-13 / Front Page

Town awards contracts for community activity center

by CHRIS GRAHAM
Editor

The Orchard Park Town Board has voted 2-1 to approve nearly $15.8 million in contracts for the Brush Mountain Park community activity center, marking the biggest decision on the facility since the community supported a $16 million referendum to build the structure in November of 2016.

During the Sept. 5 Town Board meeting, the board awarded six contracts for the project: general contractor to Javen Construction Co. for a little more than $12 million; heating, ventilation and air conditioning to DV Brown and Associates for $1.2 million; electrical to Industrial Power and Lighting Corp. for $1.7 million; plumbing to Numarco Inc. for $642,000; and fire protection to William T. Spaeder Co. for $177,500.

These bids also include four alternates, which include millwork and replacing a standing seam roof with asphalt shingles and the cost to replace use of structural fill below the site area only with prepared, tested, compacted and approved onsite soil from the onsite soil material stockpile noted on the plan. All of the bids were reviewed by Wendel Duchscherer Architects and Engineers.

Town Supervisor Patrick Keem and Councilman Michael Sherry voted for the contracts, while Councilman Eugene Majchrzak cast the no vote.

The contract vote followed two community forums on Sept. 4 and 5 that updated residents on the 59,000-square-foot center and explained the costs, including the total budget of $20.2 million.

The presentations, conducted by Sherry, showed the costs outside the $16 million referendum, including owner contingency at 5 percent for $900,000; town site work/utility fees and material testing for $1 million; design fees for around $1.6 million; and project coordination fees for around $890,000.

In the course of those presentations, Sherry said the town would not borrow any more money than the $16 million bonded in July. Also, it would not dip into reserve funds but look to cover the cost between the $16 million bond, capital accumulated prior to January 2016, capital reserves, developer deposits, a capital projects fund and a SAM grant that’s received partial approval through state Sen. Chris Jacobs.

There would also be the selling of the current Senior Center for between $500,000 and $600,000, a fundraising effort from John Kearns and Associates for $1.5 million to $2 million and an additional grant for $250,000. The presentation showed the town has $19.6 million in available funds, not including fundraising, the center sale or the additional grant.

Before the votes were cast, residents Kathy Gorkiewicz and David Schuster made comments on the center. Gorkiewicz said the current project includes significant impacts that weren’t part of the November referendum, including the moving of football fields from Brush Mountain Park, potentially to a parcel of town-owned land on Webster Road.

She added that with the changes, the project should have gone back to the public to be approved again before the Highway and Engineering departments began preliminary sitework.

Schuster called Sherry’s financial predictions for the center overly optimistic. He also called out the failure to identify a wetland on the property before the site was chosen, as well as reorienting the building, moving parking lots and football fields, raising the ground base 18 inches and taking 5,000 square feet off the facility.

He also said there should be a revote on the project because it was changed substantially.

Pawtucket Row resident Tom Pieczynski applauded the board for moving forward on the center where previous boards had stopped.

“I’ve been up here a few times with other administrations, and they found every way to not make it happen,” Pieczynski said. Since Mike, yourself [Supervisor Patrick Keem] and Gene [Majchrzak] have taken a hold of this whole situation, you find a way to get it done rather than to find ways to stop it.”

Following comments from residents, each member of the board delivered his opinion on the center.

Majchrzak presented 21 figures, 15 of which were actual figures that were bid on or the town has a contract with and six that were estimates, four from the town’s consultant, one from the Engineering Department and one from Majchrzak.

Majchrzak ran through the contracts and alternates, design fees, project management fees, contingency fees, furnishings, relocation of the football fields, fees for Ducts Unlimited Mechanical Systems, soil inspection fees, in-kind work from the Highway Department and projected additional employees at the facility for police, recreation and maintenance to bring the budget project total to $24.9 million.

The councilman said he was in favor of the senior portion of the project, but he added that the $16 million referendum was for a complete center build-out, not for a building that needed areas to be fitted out at a later date. He mentioned in an earlier presentation that the activity center would be used as a shelter during a weather event, but the base bid did not include a diesel generator.

Keem and Sherry spoke next and talked about the need for a community activity center and how it would aid the community. Sherry said Majchrzak’s figures were speculation and added that he would go with the facts from the professionals.

Even with Majchrzak’s difference of opinion, the vote was never in doubt. Both Keem and Sherry had supported a center since the talks began to intensify in 2015.

When the vote was finally read and the back-and-forth comments ran their course, applause rang out from the courtroom of the Municipal Center.

Majchrzak called the meeting the most difficult of his career on the Town Board, being torn between the “outstanding project” and the cost, but added he will now do everything in his power to make sure the project moves forward without a hitch.

Sherry said that soon the community will be able to enjoy everything the center will have to offer.

“In a short while, decades of residents in Orchard Park will begin to have their lives enriched by the decision this community arrived at back in November 2016,” Sherry said.

As mentioned in a past forum, ground will be broken on the center in October. Construction will be completed by the end of 2019 or the beginning of 2020, and the center will be occupied by the spring of 2020.

email: cgraham@beenews.com

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