Shunpike Grass Fields Miss Completion Deadline
Broken equipment, small work crews blamed for the delay.
Chatham Township Mayor Nicole Hagner announced Thursday that the contractor for Shunpike Field missed the July target for completing the grass fields.
"We already sent Fredco a letter asking them to adhere to the completion date and try to get everything done by July 8, and clearly they didn't meet that target," Hagner said.
John Ruschke, the Chatham Township engineer, was not in attendance at Thursday's meeting of the Chatham Township Committee. Hagner said she had spoken with him and that in his opinion, "the remainder of the work should not be taking this long."
Hagner said Fredco was doing some work every day, but they have not had the manpower or number of crews working that the township would like to see. She also said that she had heard of some equipment problems with the machines used to clean the topsoil.
"They have been working Saturdays," Hagner said, but "they don't have enough crews [and] the equioment's breaking. we know that it takes time to go through the soils but we've asked them to get two sifters, and they've yet to do that."
Hagner said she felt the next step would be to send a letter to Fredco's bonding company, and to take steps to enact the contract's penalty clause.
Township Attorney Carl Woodward said the contract's penalty clause for work done after the completion date is calculated on a number of factors that have not been determined at this point because the current work order is beyond the original scope of the contract.
"The original contract had a 270-day completion time. That was up in December. On the other hand, we expanded the contract. We added the lights, we made some changes," Woodward said. "When you do that, you always have to calculate how much extra time the contractor gets as a result of that. So I don't know exactly what that date would be."
Still, Woodward said, "We sent them a most recent deadline of July 8 to get it done. We got a letter back from Fredco saying they were going to try to get it done by July 8, but here it is, July 14, and they're still not complete."
Weather has also been a factor in the project's slow progress, as Chatham experienced a heavy winter and a wet spring.
Committee Member Bill O'Connor said that the crews from Fredco were out every day doing some work. Despite the numerous missed deadlines for completion of the Shunpike Field construction, "he's been working diligently...and I think he's covered himself well enough that it's going to be tough to make a case."
Hagner said that the quality of the work was not in dispute, but the progess has been slower than it should have been. "The expectation is that it was supposed to be done months ago, and it's still not," Hagner said.