MAHOPAC, N.Y. - The $2.2 million renovation project at Airport Park is on schedule, with Phase 1 wrapped up and Phase 2 ready to begin.
The project will create five soccer/lacrosse fields, a restroom building, playground, pavilion, bleachers and concession stand. In addition, fencing and a new parking lot will be installed, hiking paths through the woods will be upgraded and marked, and the park’s driveway will be improved.
Jeff Contelmo, senior principal engineer for Insite Engineering, Surveying & Landscape Architecture, the firm overseeing the project, and Jim Gilchrist, director of the Recreation and Parks Department, went before the Town Board last month to provide an update.
“We are back on track with Phase 1. We had been fighting the weather. There’s been a tremendous amount of rain this spring,” Gilchrist told the board. “We were behind by about two weeks, but we are still within our window to get that work done. We are trying to get the second phase going right into the summer/fall growing season. Everything seems to be working like clockwork right now.”
Gilchrist explained that Phase 2 is the establishment of the playing surface and irrigation system. He said the Rec Department opted to go with seed over sod, which means “we are going to have a growing season where the park will be closed while the grass is growing.”
Gilchrist added that this is also when many of the park’s amenities, such as the outbuilding and playground will be constructed.
“We do believe that substantial completion of Phase 1 will hit around the end of this month,” Contelmo said. “One of the most important aspects of this project has always been the growing season for the turf. Ideally, we want to start the work associated with the soil amendments, the topsoil, the seeding, the mulching, all happening throughout July and August, so as soon as the wetter weather comes around in September we will have had a month and a half for the grass to get rooted and get started. That’s very important. Time is of the essence in that regard.”
Gilchrist said the town received three bids for Phase 2 of the project and recommended accepting a $691,678 bid from US Pitchcare LLC, which he said was substantially lower than the rest. The base amount of the bid, which includes the establishment and initial maintenance of the turf, was $527,301. It also includes $44,376 for the initiation of the main header for an irrigation system and $120,001 for the irrigation distribution system for the remaining four fields.
“[The contractor] will establish the turf and then maintain it throughout the growing cycle, and then we will pick it up next year,” Gilchrist said.
Contelmo said Pitchcare officials said they will be ready to begin work in early July, which, he said, is when Phase 1 will wrap up.
Gilchrist said that when Phase 1 is complete, he will also begin work on the fencing part of the project.
“When [the Phase 1] contractor pulls out we will walk the park and mark out the fencing lines, instead of trying to draw it out on a map,” he said. “And then we will come to the Town Board to go out for bid. That work will go on right as Phase 2 is starting. It will be finished before the fields are completed.”
Gilchrist said the fence will be black chain link with various breakpoints for people to get in but will still keep vehicles off the fields.
Gilchrist added that during that point they will also run electric service to where the outbuilding will be. The power will also be used for the irrigation system and security system.