CHESTER – The board of selectmen has agreed to hold a special meeting to review bids for field leveling work at Wason Pond. A Request for Proposal (RFP) has recently been sent out, with a bid deadline of Sept. 6.
While the project has been held up for months, by the time the bids come back there will be only a brief weather window for the contractor to lay grass seed for optimum results. Hence the board decided to accommodate the project with an extra meeting on Sept. 6 at 6 p.m.
While initially chair Steph Landau speculated that the board could award the project that night, the majority of the board, led by Jack Cannon, said that was much too quick of a turnaround time.
Cannon said it was an expensive project, one of the largest the town has done in a while, and as such it had to be thoroughly reviewed to make sure the town was getting good work with limited liability.
Cannon said the town’s lawyer should also review the bids.
The recreation commission has been handling the project after voters decided to match, with $45,000, funds that the Chester Field of Dreams group raised for the work. Various issues have postponed the project since then.
Voters approved the matching funding in May of 2012. The recreation commission stated to the Tri-Town Times in late June 2013 that the bid package used to create the RFP was nearly ready. The RFP went out last week with a two-week response time, according to Landau.
Estimates for the physical work for the project are that it will take about a month. This will include stripping the soil off the land, leveling the property, re-spreading the loam and then seeding it.
The selectmen pointed out that the hold-up of the project was not their fault, but they were being asked to rush the approval through. Cannon asked what the sudden rush was for. Selectman Rich LeBlanc said that while he didn’t want to place blame, he questioned the current rush when the project hadn’t been moved on for months.
The board agreed to meet Sept. 6 to open the bids, and decide then what to do. Likely the bids will be sent to counsel for review and to the town’s finance manager for a later decision.
Landau hoped that they could award the project early the following week.