Scheduling issues between the town and the vendor who is slated to design and build the pool and ice rink at Braintree High School have held up a final deal, though officials say that after decades of waiting to fulfill Capt. August Julius Petersen's wishes they are confident the project will get started this year.
"Considering the thing has taken 48 years to get off the ground, I think the progress the town is making is good," said District 3 Town Councilor Tom Bowes, who served on a committee that reviewed the bids.
Bowes said the committee's role was completed in March when it made a recommendation to Mayor Joseph Sullivan.
Difficulty scheduling discussions to hash out the final details has postponed an announcement of the design and the project's groundbreaking, Chief of Staff and Operations Peter Morin said.
In his State of the Town address in February, Sullivan promised that the Petersen Pool will be built this year, and Morin said that despite the delays he is confident work will 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.
Under special legislation approved by lawmakers and signed by Gov. Deval Patrick in November 2011, Braintree was allowed to pursue a design-build approach, which could lead to significant savings. The town will retain ownership of the land and lease it for up to 50 years.
"Those types of [public-private] partnerships are difficult to put together," Councilor-at-Large Leland Dingee said. "But there is a commitment there to get it done."
The town offered bidders $1.5 million from a fund set up in the name of tugboat Capt. Petersen after he died in 1963. He originally put aside $65,000 for a pool at Watson Park and over the years the fund grew to approximately $2 million.
Two bidders for the pool and ice skating rink at BHS met with the search committee and one was sent on to the mayor's office. Officials have yet to publicly disclose the name of the vendor pending a final agreement, which Morin said will include all of the expectations and requirements that town has for the project, such as ice time for the public and local sports teams.
Meanwhile, across town at Watson Park a Splash Pad that is being funded by a portion of the Capt. Petersen money is near completion. The 3,500-square-foot self-circulating water complex is estimated to cost $250,000. Construction is expected to be complete by the end of June.
"To the mayor’s credit we’ve had a lot going on," Bowes said. "We just finished the budget, we did a groundbreaking for the Petersen Splash Pad, and we are still working on improvements to the Landing."