Byram awards million dollar contract for sports fields

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:15

    Byram-In less than one year, CO Johnson Park in Byram will have received over a million dollar facelift. The renovation project for the park has been split into two phases; one that should be complete by next month, and another slated to be finished by spring of 2005. As part of the first phase, a $156,030 electrical improvement project for the park has already begun construction and should be complete before Byram Day scheduled for Sept. 11. The other, slightly larger phase, will cost the township an estimated $1.1 million, and will provide the park with new sporting facilities and upgrades. A new soccer field complete with an irrigation system, as well as a nein-line hockey rink will be part of the phase two improvements. The second phase will also include additional lighting for some of the park's fields, tennis court renovations, the installing of fences, basketball court striping, and paving of parking areas. This segment will begin construction after Byram Day, and, officials expect, should be completed in less than a year. "A lot will depend on the weather and rain, and whether or not it is a harsh winter," said Township Manager Gregory Poff about the phase two project remaining on schedule. However, no matter how accommodating the weather may be, the new soccer field will be unavailable for use until sometime in 2006. In order for the turf of the field to take hold, the new grass will need a year of interrupted growth. For several months now, the Byram council, mayor, and engineer have been forced to play a waiting game with the planned park renovations due to complications with the bid submissions. At the Monday night council meeting, a resolution to award a contract for phase two construction was approved by the council. Phases one and two will cost Byram approximately $1.25 million. With a $1.5 million budgeted for the renovations, the township will be left with an additional $250,000 for any additional spending at the park. At the meeting, Councilwoman Donna Griff publicly thanked Township Engineer Cory Stoner for keeping the CO Johnson project within the township's budget. According to Poff, the bids for phase two of the project came in lower than the council had originally anticipated. "His estimates were very good," said Poff. "I'm happy to see the project moving forward."