Soil will rumble and rock will crumble this week in the area of Stump and Horsham roads in Montgomery Township during various rock blastings at the future site of the township Community and Recreation Center.

Township Manager Larry Gregan announced at Monday night's board of supervisors meeting that contractor E.R. Stuebner will bring the boom at daytime hours, but did not know the exact times and days of the controlled rock blasting.

"They are starting to prep the site for blasting. It's on schedule for this week. There are no specific dates," Gregan told supervisors. "They were out there today digging and drilling holes, getting set for the charges. We're excited to see it moving forward." 

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Since the blasting could affect neighboring residential and commercial properties on Commerce Drive and off Orchard Drive, the township notified residents of the upcoming booms.

"When they're ready, there's a horn they have to blow, they have to stop traffic out on the roadway ... and they're timed shots, they're microblasts. It's not like the old days where stuff blows up all over," Gregan said, after the meeting.

"This is the first step. Everything starts from the ground, up," he said.

E.R. Stuebner was awarded the $7.185 million base bid for the general construction contract in April, which features a suspended walking track, two basketball courts, two cafe and lounge areas and studios/classrooms. There is no pool. The contractor will also construct an extended walking trail.

Supervisors also approved a $45,000 engineering services contract for Gilmore & Associates to design a handicap-accessible playground and spray park at the recreation center.

The construction estimate for the playground is $650,000. Gregan said $250,000 of that will be paid with a state grant. The remaining $400,000 will come from earmarked community center expenses in the township's capital reserves fund.

"We did plan for funding of the spray park in our financial plan. We are prepared to move forward with design work, so it is installed on the site concurrently with the completion of the community center project," Gregan said.

After the meeting, Gregan said the grant requires a 50 percent match from the township. 

"We had to come up with additional funding. We like to get more grants, and sometimes they allow one to offset the other as the local match, but we have our $5 million Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant application in. We're hoping to have some results of that coming up by August," Gregan said. "We'll see what we get."

Gilmore & Associates will charge no more than $30,000 for site design. The township engineer will also prepare the technical specifications, bid documents, and bid reviews, and recommend a bid award. Gilmore & Associates' professional services through the bid phase and construction phase are $6,000 and $9,000, respectively.

Chairman Joe Walsh said he saw the popularity of and use of spray parks during a recent trip to Savannah, GA, and was excited of that prospect in the township. 

Supervisor Mike Fox said the ADA playground and spray park will be a "great addition and attribute" to the community center.

"It's one of the aspects that people are really enthusiastic about," Fox said. "I'm in full support of moving ahead with Gilmore." 

Gregan said the 600 gallons of water to be used in the spray park will be cycled and filtered constantly. Township staff will be responsible for its maintenance, he said.

"There's a treatment process that comes with it that is built into the unit underground. It's constantly recycled: water comes in filtered and it's put back into the system," he said.