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New tactic for Turf Committee in hopes of getting 2.72 million dollar project off the ground.

POSTED May 13, 2014
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

TORRINGTON: When the lowest bid offered on the $2.72 million dollar track and turf replacement project came in nearly $38,000 dollars too high, it threw that proverbial monkey wrench deep into the works.

The Turf Committee is trying their best to loosen the stuck screws and get the project going.

Recall, State Representative Michelle Cook secured the grant that was to be used to replace a beyond aging track, install a new turf field on the multi-leveled field that sits there now and even replace the bleachers and bless their hearts, a new press box.

I hear it even has heat and air conditioning. Sorry, got excited.

The project should have seen shovels in the ground on May 7th but because the dollar amount was over the grant, the Torrington City Council could not accept it.

First the committee tried to see if they could address the overages with the low bidder, H. I. Stone out of Southbury by going over multiple line items that could be cut in order to bring the cost in line.

Torrington Corporate Council Ray Rigat though, said that the committee and city could not go in that direction.

What seemed to be on deck was putting the entire project out to bid again, thus wiping out any chance of fall sports on a new turf or local runners enjoying a new track.

Torrington has the grant for five years so it’s not going anywhere, but you have to figure that costs are certainly not going to go down at any point in the future, more likely up.

Monday night though, a plan came forth that may just get the project back in gear.

Ed Arum, the guy who has fought and fought for years to get these improvements done, proposes asking the Torrington Board of Education to approve the extra money needed but in actuality, just on paper.

The Committee will be going back to H. I. Stone and asking them to cut, at the minimum, $200,000 from the project, thus bringing it in under budget and allowing the City Council to sign off on the project.

With monies already spent, the committee will ask the BOA to approve a total of $117,000, a number that is realistic and transparent but will never be transferred to the project.

If H.I. Stone cannot come up with the cuts, the deal is off and the BOA has not spent a dime, if things go as planned. The project would simply go back out to bid at the lower price.

The Committee is looking for a fast turnaround on this process. Everything should shake out by the end of the week.

Step one is Tuesday night when the BOA meets at their Midgeon Avenue location to talk about the requested money and just how things would work.

Given the less than friendly response the BOA has shown towards this $2.72 million dollar project, a gift, it’s anybody’s guess what will happen.

If all goes according to the hoped plan, the new date for shovels in the ground would be right after school gets out on June 15th.

It would take the completion date back to perhaps sometime in late October.

Stay tuned, there’s more to come.

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