Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 36
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
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Borough Engineering Department Considers Harrison Street Park Bids

Dilshanie Perera

Bids have been received for an overhaul of Harrison Street Park, with the Borough Engineering Department slated to present its findings to Council at the September 22 open public meeting at 7:30 p.m. in Borough Hall.

The department had estimated the cost of renovations would total $643,357, and is likely to award the bid to JC Landscape Construction Management of Pequannock, New Jersey, which proposed $510,734 for the project, the third-lowest of ten bids received.

The two lowest bidders did not comply with statutory bid requirements because they both lacked public works registrations for their plumbing subcontractors.

Borough Engineer Chris Budzinski explained that JC Landscape Construction Management’s base bid was $130,000 less than the Borough’s estimate because it did not include the “Tree House” structure or herbaceous plantings.

Currently, “there is no immediate plan to design the Tree House or install plantings,” Mr. Budzinski said.

While most of the funding for the park’s renovation will come from the Borough’s capital improvements budget, in March, the Borough and Township approved the allocation of $150,000 of the Recreation Department’s budget for the project.

In recent years, the Harrison Street Park has come under criticism for its outdated play equipment, poor drainage, and tree maintenance problems, with neighbors claiming that the park had not been improved in 40 years.

Friends of the park, Borough staff, and consultants from Edgewater Design have met over the past months to discuss the look and composition of the space that is to be newly renovated.

One point of contention had been the design of the Tree House, a play structure to be situated at the center of the park from which children could see the entire area at a higher vantage point.

During a meeting in April, parents and neighbors expressed skepticism about the proposed design of the Tree House which was supposed to mimic an echinacea bloom, according to Edgewater Design consultant Jan Saltiel-Rafel.

Neighbors and interested parties will meet with the contractor prior to the commencement of work, Mr. Budzinski noted, adding that the next steps involve Borough Council approving the bid once the capital budget is adopted.

Final approval from the Mercer County Soil Conservation District is pending, according to Mr. Budzinski, who estimates that the park renovation will take between four to six months to complete.

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