The two bidders who sought an agreement with the Town of Braintree to build and operate a pool and ice rink at Braintree High School offered presentations that did not satisfy many of the benchmarks laid out by the town.
Both bids scored low marks in areas such as building plans and financing detail, according to members of the evaluation committee that sent the proposals on to Mayor Joseph Sullivan this spring.
“We met with both groups and unfortunately neither one of them satisfied the criteria we were scoring them on,” Town Councilor Tom Bowes said.
Using a scorecard, committee members evaluated the bids offered by Braintree residents Carl Zingarelli, a longtime Babe Ruth volunteer, and Robert W. Norton, an attorney with an office in Quincy. Neither bidder scored above 15 points out of a possible 40 or 44, said Tom Devin, a School Committee member who also served on the Petersen committee.
“I did not see a clear-cut winner,” Devin said.
Other evaluation committee members, including Athletic Director Michael Denise and Sustainable Braintree member Michael Cavanaugh, referred questions about the quality of the bids to the mayor’s office. Sullivan did not respond to several requests for comment.
Cavanaugh said he and other members used the requests for information and proposals issued by the town to judge the bidders’ presentations. He said members tried to be objective and also “understanding of what [the bidders] were trying to get at.” Cavanaugh declined to say whether he felt the bids were satisfactory or not.
Last month, Chief of Staff and Operations Peter Morin said that Sullivan had made his selection but was still negotiating the terms of the agreement. Morin said that the delay in reaching an agreement was due to scheduling issues.
In his State of the Town address in February, Sullivan promised that the Petersen Pool would be built starting this year. Morin said last month that despite the delay he was confident work would begin sometime in the next several months.
The town had originally hoped to break ground last fall and have the athletic complex operating by the end of 2013. It offered bidders $1.5 million from a fund set up in the name of tugboat Capt. Julius Petersen after he died in 1963. He put aside $65,000 for a pool at Watson Park and over the years the fund grew to more than $2 million.
Gov. Deval Patrick signed legislation in November 2011 allowing Braintree to use a "design-build" approach that involves one firm taking the helm of the entire project, including operating the complex in the years ahead.
Under a 30- to 50-year contract, the town would retain ownership of the land at BHS, between the football field and Granite Street, and would be able to take over or re-bid the property if the operator failed to comply with the terms, according to details the mayor’s office previously released. The plan is for an indoor pool and ice rink that will have public skate times and availability for local teams.
In an interview last month, Zingarelli said he was passionate about his bid for the athletic complex, but also acknowledged that he did not have the kind of construction expertise and financing necessary to do it on his own. He said his business partner is Paul Cokinos, owner of the Boch Ice Center in Dedham.
Zingarelli said in a follow-up interview that he looks forward to collaborating on the project regardless of which bid Sullivan chooses. Zingarelli said he has many revenue-generating ideas for the complex, such as getting auto dealers to sponsor the rink and leasing space to a function hall, driving school and/or health club.Norton, a personal injury lawyer with the firm Giarrusso Norton Cooley & McGlone, PC, is listed with the National Hockey League Players’ Association as a certified player agent.
He is also registered with the Secretary of the Commonwealth as the manager of Pro Evolution Hockey, based at the Bavis Arena in Rockland and the Jr. Terriers Ice Center in Canton. Norton is also listed as the treasurer and director of Mass Inline Management Company, Inc., with an address at the Bavis Arena.
Norton did not respond to messages left at his law office.
Meanwhile, across town at Watson Park, construction is nearing completion on a Splash Pad built with a portion of the Petersen money. An opening cookout has been scheduled for noon on July 28.