A resolution put before the Town of Medley council at their monthly meeting on Monday, Dec. 3 eventually went through but not before a lot of debate from one of its council members.
On the agenda was the approval to give Atkins North America Inc. the green light to go ahead with its architecural plans to provide design services and construction administration services for the renovation of the Danny Meehan Recreational Field at Tobie Wilson Park.
The park, which lies directly behind Medley Town Hall, has become somewhat of an eyesore over the years and last March the idea of giving it a nice facelift with lights, a walking track, softball field, etc., was approved by council.
But when Town Engineer George DeCorzo went before the council on Monday night, he met plenty of resistance from Councilman Jack Morrow.
Morrow not only questioned the expenditure of a projected $91,000 to Atkins for their services, but the spending of an estimated $600,000 for the entire project even though much of it would be procured from the state through various capital improvement programs.
“Why are we paying $90,000 to these people when many of us are capable of going out there and doing this ourselves?” said Morrow. “We’re not in a position where we have that kind of money to waste.”
If Morrow thought he was going to pick up any allies along the way after his opening statement, he was seriously mistaken.
All four council members along with DeCorzo and even Town Attorney Steve Helfman advised him that there was no way that the planning phase could not be done by a professional company or qualified individual. Even Town Finance Director Roy Danziger chimed in stating that state funds would not be forthcoming should Medley try to “shortchange” the project by using in-house people to plan it.
“I don’t think there are hardly any kids in this town that would even use it,” said Morrow, arguing for nixing the entire project. “We’ve got roads that are bad, drainage problems, you name it, where money would be better spent.”
“Jack, this is a very important project for the people of Medley that needs to happen,” said Mayor Roberto Martell. “I see a ton of kids over in the 8181 (trailer park) playing all the time. Not only that, this isn’t just something for kids, but for adults as well. This needs to get done.”
“We have already approved the construction of this park previously, so we certainly can’t go backwards on what we’ve already committed to,” said Councilman Edgar Ayala.
“I also believe we would be able to lease the park out to outside entities as well once it is done,” said Councilwoman Susanna Guasch. “That would bring in added revenue to the town.”
When Martell made a motion to approve, Vice Mayor Grisela Digiacomo quickly seconded and a vote was taken. Ironically, after arguing against it for nearly 30 minutes, Morrow voted yes and the vote was unanimous to move on with the project.