The North Hempstead Town board has approved a $21 million renovation of the Clinton G. Martin Park pool facility in New Hyde Park, well above the initial estimated cost of $14.6 million.
The town board voted unanimously 7-0 at a Monday meeting to award the contract — a base bid of $19.5 million along with other fees — to Wantagh-based contracting firm Gramercy Group, Inc.
The bid was one of just two received by the town. The town board decided not to select the lowest bidder, Wyandanch-based Philip Ross Industries, which proposed a base bid of $19 million, along with other fees.
Town officials said that the design consultant, J.R. Holzmacher P.E. LLC, advised against PRI, because of insufficient information and experience.
The Monday meeting followed a year of discussions and community presentations about the renovation, a project that has divided the community.
Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth said that the board was “very disappointed” that the bids had come in so high, but that the decision was in the community’s best interest.
“It’s your pool and its your tax money,” Bosworth said. “We are here together as a community and we want to do the right thing.”
Dozens of residents attended the meeting, most expressing support for moving forward with the current bids, instead of rebidding the project at a later date. Town officials stressed that this would not have guaranteed lower bids, and could potentially shutter the pool for two seasons instead of the planned one summer.
Several people urged the town to quickly restore what they described as cornerstone of their community.
New Hyde Park resident Rob Spina presented the town with a petition with 212 signatures supporting awarding the contract without delay. Without the renovation, the community would “miss out on memories” and swim elsewhere, he said. “That community aspect we have will right now will disappear,” Spina said.
Under the first project estimate of $14.6 million, the town had projected that taxes on the average assessed home of $412,400 would rise from $40 to $100. Taxes will now increase to $140 per year, according to Town Spokeswoman Carol Trottere.
Juleigh Chin, a Manhasset Hils resident who serves on the Clinton G. Martin Park Advisory Committee, said that she supported the “betterment of the community” as long as she lived in town.
“Unfortunately it is expensive to live here but we all chose to live here,” Chin said.
Another resident, Dot Friedman , said she wouldn’t hesitate about the cost if it were a necessity, like a school. “It’s a lot of money for a pool,” Friedman said. “Young people do other things now.”
The town also authorized a $480,394 contract with Syosset-based company Liro program and Construction Management, to oversee the project and monitor the schedule, work and budget.
Town officials said the project is on schedule with the planned timeline, with a construction period of 11 months and a target completion date of June 2018.