WEST ORANGE, NJ - There's going to be a new spray pad at the Ginny Duenkel Pool, and construction is set to begin the week of April 7. The 100-foot spray pad will feature a wading pool and water toys to entertain toddlers and children up to the age of 10.
Resolution 63-14, "Resolution Authorizing a Contract for the Project "Reconstruction of the Outdoor Wading Pool at the Ginny Duenkel Municipal Pool, William Street and Cherry Street," was approved 4-1, with Councilman Krakoviak voting no.
At the Jan. 23, 2013 Township Council meeting, Rec Director Bill Kehoe said that the expected cost would be about $120,000 after having conversations with Integrated Aquatic Services, who helped design the plan for the wading pool. After going to bid, the township was presented with bid proposals ranging from $227,723 to $346,00. In addition, the possibility of completely reconstructing the wading pool, instead of sawing into the wading pool and jointing the spray pad onto it, was added as "Alternate 2" on the bids.
Department of Public Works Director Lenny Lepore said they were recommending the lowest bidder, Cypreco Industries, whose bid was $227,723. Their "Alternate 2" bid was $39,723.
In conversations with Lepore and Bill Kehoe, Cypreco agreed to take $10,000 off the "Alternate 2" cost to completely reconstruct the wading pool. Kehoe, who already apprised the township that the Colgate Foundation was covering the cost of the water toys at $19,352, said they would also contribute $15,000 of the $30,000 cost to completely redo the wading pool. He echoed Lepore's concern that sawing it and creating a joint to add the spray pad may cause structural issues in the future.
$150,000 of the cost will be covered by a grant from Essex County; and $34,352 would be covered by the Colgate Foundation, for a total of $184,352. Subtracting these amounts from the total cost of $257,446 leaves $73,371 that the township will cover from its capital outlay budget. The budget had already set aside $120,000 for the original cost projection.
A lengthy discussion followed the presentation, and Kehoe provided the council with documentation of all particulars, including a satisfaction survey from pool members, with overall satisfaction ratings high. (The survey was not available to the press at the time this article was published.)
Resident Susan Freivald commented regarding prior discussions that the goal of constructing the spray pad would increase pool membership. With the increase in cost, she noted, there was "no evidence of increased revenue" by the construction of the spray pad and therefore it was "not going to serve its purpose."
Mayor Robert Parisi, who was in attendance at the township council meeting, responded to Ms. Freivald by saying that "it was not my objective to drive membership."
"Kids today are entertained differently than when we were their age," he continued. "This is going to keep us competitive."
"I'm sure more improvements will be needed in the future," Parisi said. "We are still spending less than we originally thought."
In response to Clare Silvestri Krakoviak's concerns over safety, Parisi said, "You can never guarantee 100% that someone won't get hurt, but the pool and staff have always been responsible (to ensure safety)."
Bill Kehoe spoke to Ms. Krakoviak's concerns about loss of tables in the area where the spray pad will be, and said the hedges have been removed and tables will be relocated.
According to Kehoe, there will be an "Open House" at the pool on May 15, where the community can see the pool and the new spray pad and wading pool, which they hope to have completed by then. Registration for pool memberships and summer recreation programs will begin at that time as well.