Byram reconsidering C.O. Johnson plans

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:13

    BYRAM - An inline hockey rink that was originally planned to be a part of major renovations to C.O. Johnson Park in Byram may not be built. Township officials are considering eliminating the hockey rink from the plans because of higher than expected costs of the overall project. The hockey rink, which recently went out to bid, came back with an estimated price tag of $185,000. Park improvements that are definite include new basketball, bocce ball, handball and tennis courts, a soccer field, access roads, paths, and areas for skating and skateboarding. A bid for $1,149,423 from Rochelle Contracting, which would not include the hockey rink, is currently being reviewed by the township for the park project. In addition, a bid for approximately $250,000 was awarded at Monday night's council meeting for electricity to be put into the park. Several months ago, Byram passed a bond resolution for $1.5 million for the entire project. If the inline hockey rink were added, it would make the total cost of renovations higher than expected. "I would like to give the public what we've shown them all along," said Councilwoman Donna Griff, referring to initial plans which included the inline hockey facility. At Monday night's council meeting, she proposed that the township aggressively pursue grant funding to have the structure built without going above initial cost estimates. The township's recreational department will meet and discuss whether to raise the price tag of the project over $1.5 million. If the hockey rink is built, lighting for the structure will also be considered as an alternate project, along with basketball and tennis court lighting. The council, township Engineer Cory Stoner, and the recreation department will further discuss the issues before awarding additional bids for the park.