The proposed ice rink/recreation center/pool project that has been proposed for the Promenade Shops at Evergreen Walk could cost up to at least $600,000 more than its initial $10.5 million price tag.
Indeed, according to Town Attorney Dwight Johnson in a Nov. 8 letter to the Town Council, the project would "probably" require the payment of prevailing wages to construction workers, which could drive up the labor costs of construction by 20 to 30 percent.
In an interview on Nov. 15, Town Councilor Kevin McCann said that labor costs would be about 30 percent of the cost of the project, and the prevailing wage would add about 20 percent the labor. That would mean about 6 percent - or roughly $600,000 - added to the project. The labor cost could be higher by a couple hundred thousand dollars more, depending on the calculations of the prevailing wages.
Johnson's comments were in response to several questions submitted to him by Mayor Tom Delnicki and Town Councilor Kevin McCann concerning the legalities of the project, which would be constructed near the Old Navy at the lifestyle mall.
Among the highlights of the other responses provided by Johnson are the following:
- The town charter permits the use of a 63-20 corporation to construct the project, in Johnson’s opinion, without the need for a referendum for the town to enter into a lease with that corporation.
- A simple majority - five town councilors out of the nine - would be needed to approve the project as proposed, according to Johnson. “Six votes is required to approve an expenditure of more the $25,000 if the expenditure is not provided for in the annual budget,” Johnson wrote. “In this case, a vote of five members would be sufficient provided that the Town is not expending its own money on the project. If the Town were to enter into a lease for all or a portion of the use of the facility, the annual appropriation of the lease payments would be included in the annual budget. Expenditures by a properly formed 63-20 corporation would not be considered an expenditure by the Town for these purposes.”
- It does not appear that competitive bidding is necessary for the project because the 63-20 corporation would be handling construction.
- Johnson estimates the cost for the town to defend against a legal challenge to the project to run between $25,000 to $100,000, depending on how far in the process a lawsuit went. The $100,000 figure is an estimate in the unlikely event that the matter went to trial.
Efforts to reach Delnicki for comment were unsuccessful.
The proposal calls for the creation of a 63-20 not-for-profit corporation, which would obtain federal tax-free bonds to construct the following:
- a 35,000 square-foot community center for youths that will have classrooms and an aquatic center comprising an eight-lane pool, therapy pool and diving pools.
- Two - one indoor, one outdoor - ice skating rinks; the indoor rink alone will be 38,000 square feet and will be under the same roof as the Community Center, while the outdoor rink would be about 22,000 square feet.
- An extensive multi-use trail and bike path system that would connect the Promenade Shops at Evergreen Walk with the Town Center. The new paths would provide safe connections for pedestrians and cyclists.
The corporation would then lease the use of the rinks, pool and recreation center to the town, according to the plan.
The project, brought before the Town Council last month, has generated some controversy and more than a little conversation in South Windsor.
Some residents have said that the project would be a much-needed asset that would alleviate space problems at the Charles N. Enes Community Center, provide a source of recreation in town and give the Promenade Shops at Evergreen Walk a shot in the arm in a challenging economy. Members of the biking and high school swimming and diving community have also expressed their support for the project.
more than the projected $600,000 annual lease payment that was submitted to the Town Council. Furthermore, others have said that there is no need to build a new ice hockey rink when one already exists in the town - South Windsor Arena.
[Correction: the original piece stated that prevailing wage could drive up the cost of the project by several million dollars. South Windsor Patch regrets the error.]