By Douglas E. Hall
The Borough Council in a special meeting on Wednesday, March 26, voted to hire an attorney to negotiate for funding from a $7.2 million performance bond posted by Waterside Construction to complete the remediation of Veterans Field.
This step, taken after the council on Feb. 18 found “Waterside in default for violations of the terms and conditions of the contract.” In other words, the council found that Waterside while contracted to remove contaminated soil and replace it with certified clean soil raising Veteran’s Field up as much as six feet had actually introduced new contamination into the field through some of the soil and gravel it buried under clean top soil.
The council retained one of the oldest law firms in the state, Connell Foley, which maintains a department that focuses on environrnmental concerns. The contract with this law firm states that billing to the borough “shall not exceed $25,000.” Assigned to this task is Tim Coriston, who will begin negotations with Liberty Mutual, which is the underwriter of the performance bond provided by Waterside.
It is estimated that negotiations might result in a settlement as soon as May. Following that settlement, the borough will seek bids to remove all contamination from Veterans Field. Completion of the work will no doubt keep the park closed for another summer. The park has been closed since July 2012 after contamination was discovered.