STEUBENVILLE - It was bitter cold Wednesday afternoon at Belleview Park - cold enough to almost immediately freeze the water Jason Boroski of the Grae-Con Construction Corp. was carefully spraying on the new skating rink surface at the west end of the park.
That skating rink is the final attraction at the recently upgraded park, and city officials are hoping they will see skaters use the facility as soon as the entire surface has properly frozen, perhaps by Friday or Saturday.
"(Boroski) applied the initial water spray to the rink surface and we then asked asked the fire department for assistance. They have helped us by spraying approximately 3,000 gallons of water onto the concrete to create a thick ice surface. This will be a great attraction for area skaters, and we hope area residents will use the rink while it is available this winter. When the warm weather returns this surface will become a street hockey rink," explained a bundled-up Michael Dolak, city engineer.
CREATING AN ICE RINK — Darrell and Larry Zapolnik, at left, along with Tim Young of the Steubenville Street, Sanitation and Recreation Department lay sandbags along the steel retaining walls at the new ice skating rink at Belleview Park. Employees from Grae-Con Construction Corp. and city firefighters started flooding the rink Wednesday afternoon to prepare a surface for area skaters. - Dave Gossett
"These steel retaining walls that will hold the water in the rink area were fabricated by Grae-Con specifically for this rink. We can use them every winter for the ice skating rink," added Dolak.
He noted he was uncomfortably cold as he watched the water freezing process at the park, but he also was pleased by a recent announcement citing the $4.6 million upgrade of Belleview and Jim Wood parks had been completed at nearly 10 percent below the guaranteed cost.
"Grae-Con Construction did an excellent job in working with the city. And our city departments worked closely during the construction process to assist with water and sewer lines," noted Dolak.
"Project Superintendent Jason Boroski and Project Manager Pat Hyer were great at balancing their construction schedule around the recreational activities. And they came in ahead of schedule and finished $428,000 below their budget," added Dolak.
According to Robert Gribben III, vice president of business development for Grae-Con, "the savings were made possible by our aggressive work schedule and working with our subcontractors and suppliers. We took some risks at trying to obtain lower prices. But in the case of the paving company the price of oil went down which resulted in lower asphalt prices.
"This is the benefit of the design/build type of project. Any savings we achieve we try to share with the project owner. We try to offer incentives to the owners and our contractors. We also have really good people who have been working for my dad for years. Our supervisors have come up through the ranks," said Gribben.
"We take the approach that our last job is our reputation. Quality control is very important to us. Our jobs are based on our performance and our work quality. That's how we have always worked," Gribben added.
"This was a company that had a set guaranteed project cost of $4.6 million. They could have very easily said the project finished at $4.6 million. But they were able to achieve savings and that is money we did not have to borrow for this project. I commend them for their work and their approach to this job," said City Manager Bruce Williams.
"City Council is very pleased with the work performed by Grae-Con. And coming in nearly 10 percent under the budget is outstanding," said Rick Perkins, 2nd Ward councilman and recreation committee chairman.
Recreation Director Dwan Johnson said the rest of Belleview Park will remain closed until the spring.
Improvements at Belleview Park include renovated ball fields, two new playgrounds, roller hockey rink, six new tennis courts, basketball court, new gazebo and picnic shelters, new restrooms and a new walking trail.
Jim Wood Park has a new gazebo, picnic shelter, playground, softball field and walking trails.
(Gossett can be contacted at email@example.com.)