Garage Cost Increases As Council Approves Additional Change Order
Myrna K. Bearse
Just two weeks after it approved a $298,000 change order to increase the cost of the downtown garage now under construction, Borough Council last Tuesday night gave its okay to a second change order, this one for $509,647. Together, the two change orders raise the estimated cost by close to a million dollars. The amount is covered, however, within the project's contingency budget and does not require additional bonding above the current $13.5 million.
The $509,647 will cover the cost of additional work to provide adequate sheeting and shoring for the southern end of the parking garage excavation ($335,489); a change in the allowance for parking revenue control equipment to reflect the actual cost of the parking system specified by the Borough ($145,258) and the cost for design of a groundwater treatment system within the parking garage ($28,900).
At the time the first change order was approved, it was announced that completion of the garage will be delayed from the earlier hoped-for December of this year to March of next year. Completion of the five-story apartment/retail building and public plaza will also be delayed, probably until early June.
In another development relating to the construction of the downtown complex, Council gave a citizens' group, the Functional Art Committee, approval to look into obtaining artist-designed metal tree grates, trash receptacles, and flower planters.
Mayor Marvin Reed said these three items might be done as original pieces, because Princeton enjoys public art. He added that the budget must be adhered to in going from mass design to individual design.
Judith Brodsky, a member of the Functional Art Committee, said it would be no more expensive to use artists than to use commercial items off the shelf. "We are talking about artists who are used to working with government facilities, and their work will be the equivalent of commercial fabrication, only better, she added.
Jeff Nathanson, another committee member, said the artist-designed elements would enhance the plaza so that it says Princeton. "These are commercially produced. The only difference is that they are created with a mold an artist made. It doesn't cost more money. Our public spaces can be more than cookie-cutter spaces."
The New Jersey State Council on the Arts has developed guidelines for art inclusion on public projects, and these guidelines will be used as a model for the Princeton selection process.
According to a timetable prepared by the Functional Art Committee, November 20 is the deadline for submission of design proposals from invited artists, and January-February is the deadline for the fabrication of the functional artworks.
In addition to Ms. Brodsky and Mr. Nathanson, committee members include Nancy Russell, chair of the Library Art Committee; Penelope Carter, member of the Library Art Committee; Armando Sosa, a Guatemalan weaver; Yina Moore, a member of the Planning Board and Princeton Future; Anne Reeves, director of the Arts Council; Richard Woodbridge, Woodbridge and Associates; Jane Faggen, member of the Historic Preservation Review Committee; and Maureen Smyth, assistant director of the Princeton Historical Society.
Council also heard a report from Borough Administrator Robert Bruschi on the parking survey recently sent to approximately 150 merchants and restaurants in the Central Business District.
Fifty-two completed surveys were returned, for a 34 percent response. Mr. Bruschi said most of the respondents also sent in a request for employee parking at the Trinity Church lot, which might account for the high return. The Borough has set aside spaces in this lot for guaranteed employee parking, in an experiment that will conclude at the end of the year. A similar effort is planned at a lot being developed at Merwick.
The survey indicated, in part, that 78 percent of full-time employees and 75 percent of part-time employees drive to work; two percent of all employees use public transportation to and from work; 23 percent of employees live in Princeton; and 28 percent of the workforce drives from the south. Seventeen businesses, totalling 319 employees, indicated that their employees would use a jitney or remote parking facility.
Mr. Bruschi recommended to Council that additional businesses in the Central Business District be canvassed to get an indication of interest in initiating a jitney/remote parking program. He also recommended that the Borough begin to look at remote parking sites, and that the Borough's grants consultant start to review options to secure funding to help subsidize the cost of operating a jitney transportation system.