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North Hempstead withholds nearly $2M from contractor it says hasn't finished work at pool

Despite the contract dispute, North Hempstead Town officials

Despite the contract dispute, North Hempstead Town officials said the Clinton G. Martin Park pool, which was built more than 50 years ago, will be ready for opening day June 15. Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

North Hempstead Town officials have sent a letter to a Wantagh-based construction company alleging that it has defaulted on a $21 million contract by failing to complete a string of repairs at Clinton G. Martin Park in New Hyde Park.

The town is withholding $1.97 million in funding to Gramercy Group, which disputes the claims, until the work is done at the park's pool facility, town officials said. 

The town hired Gramercy Group in May 2017 to perform the renovations. A contract between the town and Gramercy required the company to provide all necessary labor, material and equipment. A letter dated May 8 to Gramercy from the town’s public works department said there was still work to be done after the pool reopened last summer.

“It is the town’s position that Gramercy has defaulted and is in material breach of the contract,” the letter states.

Michael McKenna, a New Jersey-based attorney representing Gramercy Group, said his client does not agree with the town's claims of unfinished work, and the company wants to discuss the matter further with North Hempstead officials.

"None of them [concerns about unfinished items] were raised during the time the construction was ongoing," McKenna said. "The story could seem like 'Company comes in and does a horrible job and leaves the town holding the bag.' That's not what's happening here."

Despite the contract dispute, town officials said the pool, which was built more than 50 years ago, will be ready for opening day June 15. 

“None of the unfinished work impacts the health, safety and welfare of poolgoers and will not delay this season’s opening of the pool," said town spokeswoman Carole Trottere. "The pool is absolutely safe, it’s clean, and we are sure that residents will have another enjoyable summer this year at this new, beautiful facility.”

Town officials reopened the pool facility last June even though the Nassau County fire marshal said it had missing fire detection equipment.

McKenna said town officials did not approach Gramercy with concerns about unfinished work until November 2018, five months after the facility opened to the public. 

North Hempstead’s letter to Gramercy outlined a list of unfinished work that town officials want completed.

The town alleges that Gramercy did not finish all the work by the agreed upon April 24, 2018, deadline and that it didn’t properly manage the work being done by its subcontractors, according to the letter.

Among the letter's 18-point list of unsatisfactory work:

  • Domestic water plumbing was installed in spaces that are subject to freezing temperatures.
  • The hydronic boiler in the South building was installed improperly and has been exposed to chlorinated water.
  • The fire alarm system is missing a double check valve, according to the Nassau County fire marshal.
  • The insulation in the North building had no thermal envelope, and Gramercy hasn’t demonstrated that the heating and cooling systems in the building are complete.
  • A sump pump and hose connection to the chlorinator for the main pool wasn’t properly repaired and connected.
  • There were no gravity overflow drain lines installed for the main pool surge tank.
  • The pool and its waterslide have cracking in the marble dust, and there are cracks in the concrete slab of the spray pad.
  • There was incomplete sanitary drainage in the North building.
  • The wooden handrails on the pool deck are failing.
  • The partitions installed in the attic are not compliant with fire safety regulations.
  • Gramercy didn’t connect the pool deck water fountains to a sanitary system.
  • There are no Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant spaces in the restrooms and changing rooms.

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