MAHOPAC, N.Y. - The third and final phase of the $2.2 million Airport Park project is about to begin, and town officials say everything is on track for the athletic fields to be ready for play by fall of this year.
The project, which has been a long time in the making and part of the Recreation Department’s master plan for years, will feature five fields for soccer and lacrosse, bleachers, a playground, a support building with bathrooms, concession and a meeting room, fencing, upgraded driveway and parking lot, and improved hiking trails.
Recreation Director Jim Gilchrist went before the Town Board at its Jan. 22 meeting to explain what Phase 3 will entail.
One surprise Gilchrist revealed is that the Mahopac Sports Association (MSA) will donate the support building—a 3,000-square-foot prefab metal structure that comes as a kit.
“MSA has always said they would help and assist this park and move it along,” Gilchrist said. “We thought it would be best to have them look at a support building, which would house the bathrooms, a snack area, and a meeting room where the kids could congregate after a game or the town could use for any kind of activities.”
Gilchrist said that much of the construction would be handled by volunteers from MSA.
“We are really fortunate that they have a real solid group of volunteers,” he said. “They are qualified builders who have a proven record of doing things throughout the town. [They are] insured contractors.”
Councilman Frank Lombardi pointed out that these volunteers aren’t “weekend warriors” looking for a project but are licensed and insured contractors, so the town won’t have to worry about liability issues.
Gilchrist said the Recreation Advisory Committee has approved the building plan.
“It’s a beautiful building,” he said. “We’ve designed the inside to meet all of our needs. It will save the town a ton of money on the front end.”
Gilchrist told Mahopac News he wasn’t sure of the building’s actual cost but said it was in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, noting that a similar but smaller building in Camarda Park cost a little under $300,000.
Gilchrist said the town will invest in the building as well.
“We’ve budgeted $100,000 to put pavers around the building, all of the bathroom fixtures and anything we can help out with in the concession stand like the sinks, as well as the security system,” he said. “It will be a nice high-tech facility we are putting together. It will have heating, air conditioning—it will be a top-notch facility.”
The building will have a generator so if there’s a power outage there won’t be a problem. Councilwoman Suzi McDonough said she hoped it could be used as a comfort station and/or recharge station in the event of a blackout.
Gilchrist said they are also considering putting in a conduit to accommodate solar panels that could be installed on the roof of the building further down the line.
“We want to make it as green as we can,” he said. “In the bathroom, we will have waterless urinals with automatic flushes. Anything we can do to keep the water use down.”
Phase 3 will also include sending out bids or requests for proposals (RFPs) for the needed utilities in the park, including sewer, water, electric and the irrigation system.
“We put a lot of time and effort into this last phase,” Gilchrist told the board. “We have done water testing out at the golf course, we have done studies at Lake McGregor, we have a septic system that is approved by the health department that is ready to go, and we’ve dealt with electricians to find out the best way to bring electricity into the park.
“We are going to work together with the town engineering department along with Insite Engineering (the town’s consulting engineers for the project) to get these services that need to get done.”
Gilchrist said the first step is to bring in electrical service from neighboring Scott Road.
“We want to get that going out there for early spring,” he said. “This [electricity] is critical for the irrigation system.”
The next step would be a bid out for the septic system and for the water lines. Construction management for those would be done by the town’s engineering department.
The last piece is for the irrigation system, which will take water from a well on the neighboring Putnam County Golf Course. Gilchrist had praise for the county, which he said has been very accommodating and has worked closely with the town on the project.
“Insite Engineering will work with an electrical engineer and figure out the best [electrical] source for [the irrigation system],” he said. “All the easements and surveys that might be required would all be part of this package. They would design a system to bring water from that well up to the park and the irrigation system. We have tested the well and it is more than what we need for the irrigation system.”
The various aspects of the project will go out to bid Feb. 20 and will be returned by March 12. The Town Board will vote whether to accept those bids and RFPs at its April 5 meeting, which would then allow the contractors to finish work by the end of May.
“We need to get the irrigation system in,” he said. “Obviously, we would have to work around the golf schedule. We’ve talked to the contractor and they said it can be done so it won’t impact play at the golf course.”
The soft costs (design plans, bidding) for Phase 3 come to $42,000. But many more costs will be incurred once the building begins, Gilchrist noted. He said he won’t know those numbers until the bids come in.
Phase 3 should be completed sometime this summer, including the support building and playground, with the fields ready in time for the fall season.