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Queens Chronicle

DDC Wants Answers On Pick For Sports Complex Contractor

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Posted: Thursday, January 29, 2004 12:00 am

The city’s Department of Design and Construction has asked for a meeting with a surety firm on Friday to explain why it has not recommended a replacement contractor for the College Point Sports Complex.

The American Motorists Insurance Corporation is the surety agent with ADC Contracting. Last month the DDC removed the contracting company from the project because of shoddy workmanship and an inability to complete the project.

According to the city contract, the surety firm had 25 business days to propose a replacement contractor to the DDC. That deadline passed on Tuesday. Although phone conversations have been held between the city agency and the surety group, no action has been announced.

“We just want to meet with them and have them explain why they didn’t propose another contractor,” DDC spokesman Matthew Monahan said.

He noted that the surety firm assumes the contract since the original contractor was in default. “It’s like insurance,” he added.

Based on city regulations, a firm becomes in default due to failure to complete work as directed and required and failure to meet the completion schedule that the contractor agreed to, in this case, last September.

DDC sent a notice to ADC Contracting in December to stop working on the $3.6-million project to restore the ballfields, build bleachers, a comfort station and roller hockey rink.

Despite several extensions, Monahan said the work still did not get done and the quality was poor. By mid-November last year, ADC Contracting had not met its final deadline.

Despite the delays, the DDC is still determined to have the fields completed in time for the opening of Little League season in the spring. Once finished, the 22-acre site on 130th and Ulmer Streets, between 23rd and 26th Avenues, will be turned over to the Parks Department.

Parks officials followed the progress of the project and were livid at its condition, calling the work a disaster and a disgrace. One high-placed official said the hockey rink was so poorly constructed, that it will be torn down and replaced when work resumes.

Jerry Castro, president of the College Point Little League, also complained about the condition of the ballfields. He pointed to “poor drainage and lousy soil” that made them impossible to play on.

Local teams have been without the complex’s playing fields for almost seven years after the city closed them down in 1997 for safety reasons. It blamed Enviro-Fill for dumping illegal and unsafe fill when it had promised to regrade the fields with legal construction debris.

The firm was hired by the College Point Sports Association, which had operated the complex for the city for years. After a lengthy delay, the city was forced to remove the 36,700 cubic yards of illegal fill at a cost of $10 million.

Last April, the man held responsible for dumping the illegal fill pleaded guilty and agreed to pay the city $250,000 in addition to probation and a three-month weekend jail sentence.

In October, the city announced it had filed a $16.5-million lawsuit for damages against the owners of Enviro-Fill and the sports association.

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