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Splash Pad Project Soaks Village Budget

State will not give council approval to open new addition

September 18, 2012
By MARK LAW - For The Intelligencer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

MINGO JUNCTION - The cost of a planned splash pad for children at Aracoma Park has exceeded the amount of money set aside and the state will not give the village permits to open it.

Village Council in November 2010 voted to spend $250,000 from the community complex fund for the splash pad. The fund receives money from income tax.

The baby pool at the park had a major leak and was in need of replacement. The state now requires a filtration system separate from that of the main pool. The old baby pool was grandfathered in and didn't have to comply with the new state regulations.

Article Photos

Photo by Mark Law
Mingo Junction is still waiting for the approval of state permits for the construction of a splash pad that has cost the village $280,000.

The cost of the splash pad has reached $280,000, and there is still more work to be done, according to officials.

The cost of the equipment for the splash was $119,000. CT Consultants charged the village $49,000 for the engineering and Cattrell Cos. of Toronto was awarded a $96,000 contract to install the equipment. Cattrell since has been paid $115,000 with extra work needed.

Council Clerk John Angelica said the village will have a hard time ending the year in the black because of a decline in the village's income tax collections due to the closing of the RG Steel plant.

Weirton installed a splash zone at Starvaggi Park last summer at a cost of about $90,000, said Kevin Elias, program director at the city's Millsop Center. Toronto also installed a splash pad about four years ago at a cost of $80,000, according to Mayor John Geddis.

Elias said most of the labor on the Weirton project was done by city workers or volunteers. The city did hire an architect. The splash zone in Weirton refilters water so the park doesn't have to pay for as much water.

Geddis said Toronto didn't have an engineer but got a lot of technical help from the manufacturer of the equipment. Geddis said he doesn't understand why Mingo Junction decided to install such a large splash pad, considering the village's declining population.

Frank Fuscardo, Mingo Junction administrator, said the village's splash pad has a filter to recycle the water, even though the village has its own water plant. But Fuscardo, who announced last week he is resigning, said the village can't afford the splash pad considering its financial condition.

An internal memo from CT Consultants said the engineering firm initially didn't want to install a filter system but the previous village administration said not to consider it because the village was considering selling its water system. Fuscardo said the filter system is about one-half of the total cost of the splash pad equipment.

Selling the village's water system was never mentioned during public meetings at the time.

Mayor Ronald DiCarlo and Fuscardo earlier this year tried to halt the splash pad project and even asked the manufacturer of the splash pad equipment how much the village could get by returning the equipment. Fuscardo said the company initially would only give back one-half of the cost, but then said it wouldn't allow the return at all.

Some of the cost overruns on the project came as a result of site preparation work done under the previous village administration. And Fuscardo said slag and other fill for the base of the splash pad were installed, but the contractor determined the material wasn't adequate for the concrete pad. He said it cost the village $5,180 to dig it up and $1,500 for new base materials.

The state won't issue a permit to open the facility. Fuscardo said Cattrell and CT Consultants have until Thursday to appeal the state's decision not to issue a permit. The actual construction permit expires in February.

Fuscardo said the previous village administration changed the plans for the splash pad so many times that the engineering cost jumped to $48,000. Fuscardo said CT Consultants wanted to charge the village an additional $11,000 to oversee construction.

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