Vote delay on Penfield repairs likely means pavilion closed another season

A decision by the Board of Finance Thursday to put off any action on $3.6 million in funding to repair Penfield Pavilion means it will be out of commission for a third summer in 2015.
A decision by the Board of Finance Thursday to put off any action on $3.6 million in funding to repair Penfield Pavilion means it will be out of commission for a third summer in 2015.File photo

The Board of Finance's decision last week to withhold a vote on a $4.6 million proposal to repair Penfield Pavilion washed away chances the structure could reopen next summer for the first time since it was closed by damage inflicted by Superstorm Sandy in October 2012.

"I think that the delay means that while the major work -- moving building back and forth, new pile supported foundations, decks, etc. -- will be done, the pavilion will not be completely ready for occupancy until after the summer beach season," Penfield Building Committee Chairman James Bradley said Friday.

Bradley said the construction manager hired by the committee, Shawmut Design and Construction, has consistently said that eight months are needed for to complete repairs on the beachfront building.

The committee will hold a special meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Sullivan-Independence Hall to discuss the cost of adding a locker wing back into the plans.

The building panel had hoped to have funding approval in place by December so work could begin with the goal of reopening the pavilion next summer. It has been closed to the public since a storm surge undermined the structure during Superstorm Sandy.

The finance board last Thursday voted to not take any action on the recommended repair plans. Instead, the financiers sent the bonding resolution back to the committee and the Board of Selectmen because of new figures presented by town Fiscal Officer Robert Mayer for an option not recommended by the building committee.

The committee approved what is known as option 7 for repairing the pavilion. That option calls for demolition of the building's locker wing. The remaining west wing would be moved into the parking lot for installation of the new pile-supported foundations. A small addition housing bathrooms and changing rooms then would be constructed on the east end.

From the building committee's "perspective there were no new numbers," Bradley said. "I think what happened was the town was finally able to get better information from FEMA regarding how FEMA calculates and allows reimbursable costs."

That better information, he said, made the committee's option 3C, which adds the lockers back in, "more viable and attractive because it meant the locker rental income stream could be used to help pay down debt."

It is estimated that adding the lockers back into the project increases the total cost by about $1.2 million, but with FEMA reimbursement could mean a net cost to the town of $200,000.

"There has been some confusion regarding option numbers and terminology, however ,the PBC is clear on our efforts and what we have presented," Bradley said.

"We need time to look at all this information," finance board member James Walsh said, during Thursday's board meeting. "This is the Board of Finance and we do have to look at the numbers."

Walsh said according to his calculations, it would take about 7.8 years to recoup the town's cost of the lockers based on the $38,000 the lockers bring in revenue. "I think we need to look at that," he said.

Finance Chairman Thomas Flynn questioned whether the committee "had the full benefit" of all the available information, adding that with that information, "you might want to reconsider" the option 7 recommendation.

Walsh said "these numbers all seem to be changing," and stated, "I don't know if they fully understand what they were voting on at the time."

Building committee member Ian Bass, said, "I will attest to the fact that we heard new information at the Board of Selectmen meeting and we are hearing new information again tonight."

But, "The committee stands by the options and stands by our recommendation," Bradley told the finance board.