Last Tuesday, Popville posted a reader’s video of new turf being removed from a Hearst Park playing field. And it wasn’t for the first time.
In a scathing constituent update on Friday, Ward 3 Council member Mary Cheh wrote: “As executed, this project has been marked by one failure after another: the repeated removal of the sod, every schedule has been inaccurate, every deadline missed.”
In fact, the most recent estimates are likely to be wrong, and it appears that the pool will not open this season. Obviously, this is not acceptable. The most recent pulling up of the sod was blamed on the fact that the field had not been properly graded. Just yesterday, I spoke to DGS [Department of General Services], and although this is not official yet, the estimate is that the new sod will be put down in September or October and should be available for use in November. Again, I’m waiting for official word on that. I did say to DGS, though, if they give me a date, they’d better stick to it.
As you may know, I’ve had site visits there and a dedicated staff member, Dee Smith, detailed to follow the project. I’ve written to the Mayor and asked for her direct intervention. And, I’ve spoken to the director of DGS, the agency overseeing the project. He agrees with the bleak assessment of the project and seems to put much of the blame on the contractors. Wherever the the blame lies, with the contractor or the agency, we have to get the project back on track, and I’m pressing for that every day.
The last construction update posted to the Hearst Park and Pool project website was for May. At that point, DGS was targeting July for the completion of the field, and late July for the pool and poolhouse.