Pavilion construction flaws prove costly

Feb. 2, 2018  PLYMOUTH EAGLE.

Plymouth Michigan News



Reports of unfinished work, concrete failures and shoddy workmanship at McClumpha Park in Plymouth Township have led to unnecessary costs and labor expenses over the past year, according to Plymouth Township Supervisor Kurt Heise.

Last week, Township Park Foreman Steve Rapson again reported that park personnel had discovered part of the concrete walkway at the main pavilion had ruptured, up-heaving walls which blocked doors from opening. Rapson also reported that concrete blocks in the women’s bathroom had shifted due to the upheaval. According to Rapson, cold weather this winter has created a similar problem with the concrete at the newer All Seasons Pavilion located at the top of sledding hill, adjacent to the ball diamond.

Last summer, the Township Board of Trustees approved a $25,000 expenditure for outside contractor Shaw Construction Company and ASC Communications to make repairs and complete the new building punch-list for the All Seasons Pavilion. Unfinished work included installing windows, base moldings, fixing entry doors, installing a refrigerator found in storage and repairing the security system.

The pavilion project was a hotly-contested issue prompting severe criticism and unfavorable comments from residents at board meetings prior to approval by former township officials three years ago.

In the months preceding and during the construction, hundreds of residents called for greater accountability and more public input into the use of township funds. At the time, former township officials had proposed a $350,000 amphitheater and residents crowded township hall board meetings demanding the board prioritize public safety over the proposed recreation projects and fund the understaffed fire department rather than build the pavilion.

Construction of the pavilion began in the fall of 2014 after approval of the bid to Acme Enterprises of Roseville, the second-lowest bidder, by a 5-2 vote of the former board members.

Former Township Clerk Nancy Conzelman and former Treasurer Ron Edwards conducted a purchasing inquiry for the new pavilion in 2014 and selected architect-design firm D.S. Wright and Associates of Plymouth. The pavilion was to be an integral part of a $1.5 million recreation plan approved by the township board. Two options were created by Conzelman and Edwards for contractors. One was for a base project bid and the other requested an unusual alternate bid to allow the township to purchase certain materials directly for installation by the “construction manager subcontractors.”

By the time construction started, the structure had grown from a basic picnic pavilion to a sprawling facility. Costs increased by 750 percent from the time the project was originally approved by members of the township Board of Trustees to the time of the final design changes for a total of $900,000. Edwards acted as construction manager for the project. A prior practice within the township allowed the use of municipal credit cards held by various department heads with unquestioned purchases up to $20,000; a policy that facilitated customization and immediate-on-site changes during the pavilion construction.

Edwards announced he wanted the structure complete before the 2014 July 4 township, picnic an annual event he created, complete with fireworks and a private party for political friends and those whose companies had ‘donated’ to the fireworks.

Neighboring residents and project observers, some with vast construction experience, expressed concern regarding the quality of material and workmanship they observed during construction at the pavilion.

“The (all-seasons) pavilion was unfinished when we (the new administration) took over. The taxpayers have incurred tens of thousands of dollars to fix the many problems that existed in the building,” Heise said. “We need to show the public what a waste of money this was.”


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