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Update: February 15, 2013
Although progress has been made at removing the ballfields old turf, the replacement work has been delayed due to what seems to be an RFP process to determine the new contractor. This is baffling since an RFP clearly is not required by law.
Update: January 8, 2013
The Broadsheet’s Matt Fenton incorrectly reported today that the BPCA is required to go through the bureaucratic lengthy RFP process before hiring a construction company to replace the ballfields. As we first reported, below, in times of post-disaster recovery, RFP’s are not required. Why the BPCA is choosing to issue an RFP is unclear.
December 26, 2012 By Steven E. Greer, MD
BatteryPark.TV was the only source in September of 2011 to report that the newly installed artificial turf fields were “out of spec” and improperly installed. The other local “throw-aways” reported the opening of the fields as a major achievement by the BPCA President Gayle Horwitz who oversaw the project. The full details are found below.
BatteryPark.TV has exclusively learned that the main reason the BPCA will now have to replace the ballfields after Hurricane Sandy is that the fields were never installed properly to begin with. The large spikes were used to hold down the turf were always a hazard to the children, and have become more of a problem after the flood. The other excuses listed in the Broadsheet, about concerns over pollution from the flood waters necessitating turf replacement, are diversions used to hide this real issue of yet another construction project that was bungled by the BPCA.
The former CEO and President of the BPCA, Gayle Horwitz, abruptly resigned after it was exposed that her administration was intentionally stalling the opening of the $60 Million Asphalt green community center. The outdoor ballfields are a separate project. As of now, there have been no oversight investigations into any of these matters. BPCA official Anne Fenton, who was instrumental in the construction efforts, is still with the BPCA, and received a $45,000 salary increase recently.
BatteryPark.TV has also exclusively learned that both the ballfields repairs and the Asphalt Green center repairs will be awarded under a lengthy RFP (request for proposal) process, which will likely jeopardize the Little League schedule in the spring. In times of emergency, such as after a hurricane, the BPCA does not need to go through the RFP process.
No one close to the BPCA with whom we have spoken knows why this is being done by the Chairman Dennis Mehiel. However, given the shoddy work by the first construction company, under the leadership of then CEO Gayle Horwitz, it seems to be a prudent decision by Mr. Mehiel.
September 24, 2011
The much anticipated opening of the new artificial turf ball fields north of Goldman Sachs on Murray Street finally happened, more than two weeks behind schedule. Heavy rain was cited by the BPCA as the reason, even though “Hurricane” Irene was only a tropical storm when it hit Manhattan leaving only sprinkles.
The Downtown Soccer League (DSL) will be the first group to use the new field. On September 15, the delay was announced in a blast email by DSL President Bill Bialosky, “concerns over the quality of the installation and the weather sensitive process involved in adhering the turf to the foam underlayment triggered the BPCA decision given today’s rain…it is the BPCA’s desire to provide a lasting, state of the art turf field for the community that led to delaying our activities at the ball field until next week.” A parent of a DSL child told BatteryPark.TV that the scheduled games for the league will be pushed into December now.
Upon closer inspection of the fields, The installation clearly seems “out of spec”. Obvious open seams and creases protrude in the field creating tripping hazards and sources for the field to be torn up over time.
The fields are owned and operated by The Battery Park City Authority and the project was overseen by the CEO of the BPCA, Gayle Horwitz. The BPCA refused to reply to our emails and calls. It is unknown how much was paid to the construction company, how the contract was won, etc.
Other recent construction projects in or adjacent to Battery Park City that were bungled with major cost overruns include the Port Authority’s 9/11 Memorial that triggered near-100% increases in bridge and tunnel tolls, the West Thames Park and the re-sodding of the grass field, and the dog park by North Cove Marina.
(Click images to enlarge)