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Newsday (New York)
Some residents in the Town of North Hempstead reacted angrily at a meeting Wednesday to the mounting cost of multimillion-dollar bids to renovate the aging pool at Clinton G. Martin Park in New Hyde Park.
Town officials expected to spend about $15 million on the project when they announced the pool face-lift last summer. Two companies chosen as finalists submitted bids of more than $19 million. At a meeting of the Lakeville Estates Civic Association, residents vented their frustrations at town leaders and said they oppose renovations that could cost up to $23 million if other items like a refurbished pool entrance, upgraded tennis courts and lighting, and a storage building for maintenance equipment are added to the plan.
The town council is expected to vote May 8 on those additions and the entire renovation plan.
"We're not going for $23 million," Jim McHugh of New Hyde Park told town officials. If the town pays a higher price, "people are going to think they had no choice in this matter," McHugh added.
At the two-hour meeting, town officials explained that the bids came in significantly higher than expected. Wyandanch-based Philip Ross Industries sent in a $19,035,000 estimate, and Gramercy Group of Wantagh submitted a $19,474,000 bid.
Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth, who did not attend Wednesday's meeting, said Tuesday that the town faces two options: accept one of the bids or send the project out for rebidding. Bosworth noted that rebidding won't guarantee lower estimates would come forth and added that starting over would likely keep the pool closed for an additional summer.
Paying the higher price means residents and businesses in the New Hyde Park Special Park District would pay about $100 more in their annual tax bill.
New Hyde Park resident Shelley Taranto said she opposes rebidding the project and believes paying the high tax amount is worth having a renovated pool.
"I don't think you're going to get a lower price," Taranto said. "Things don't get less expensive."
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