EDITOR'S NOTE: Munster Town Councilman/Redevelopment Commissioner John Reed provided new information and explanations about actions taken at a recent Munster Redevelopment Commission meeting concerning Community Park renovations. This article clarifies and corrects information in an article that appeared in some Wednesday editions.
MUNSTER | Little League and girls softball teams will play as scheduled in Community Park next spring and summer, just not on new ball fields.
“In the spring, they will play on the same fields they are playing on now,” John Reed, Munster town councilman and redevelopment commissioner, said Wednesday.
“As soon as the last pitch is thrown (this year), we will be out there making sure those fields are ready for play in the spring.”
However, Reed said, the teams will again lose their fall season in 2013 because construction on all the new ball fields will be under way.
This year the fall season had to be scraped because crews have been installing new sewer lines to prevent flooding on the ball fields and the park’s other northern facilities.
There was confusion about why the Munster Redevelopment Commission voted 4-1 at a recent meeting to reject all bids on the second phase of the Community Park’s reconstruction, he said.
“We didn’t want the children to be playing on the fields (they are currently on) with bulldozers out there,” Reed said. “The bid (by Gough Inc., of Merrillville, for $3.4 million for phase two) was actually $300,000 over the estimate by the architects. The $600,000 figure was the general contractor’s fees.”
Reed said the four commissioners who voted to reject all second-phase bids think estimating and bids for work financed by governments should be in line with private industry standards.
They shouldn’t lead to change orders and cost overruns, he said. Phases two and three of the park’s master plan are estimated to cost $6 million.
He also said those commissioners think the town should use the in-house expertise of Town Engineer James Mandon rather than pay $600,000 for a general contractor.
“We want to reel the project in and have it under the control of our town staff,” he said. “We don’t want to short the (tax increment financing) fund to do the work at Community Park. If another project came along that was needed, we couldn’t do it because we’d used all the TIF funds on Community.”
In addition, a memo issued by Town Manager Tom DeGiulio “reads wrong,” said Reed, who is an attorney.
“If we had accepted the bid and started the work now, we would have had to scrap next spring’s season because we couldn’t guarantee the fields would be ready to play on,” he said.
“We didn’t want to be backed into a corner with being told the kids would lose the season if we didn’t act right then,” Reed said. “That’s holding a gun to my head, and I don’t accept that.”