Morales Petitions for Pool RFP

Ridgewood Pool Project cochair requests council act on committee's application.

A pool project cochair approached council last night, proposing it act on a drafted request for proposals application.

Referring to an RFP tabled by the pool committee until the new Village Council takes office, Ridgewood Pool Project cochair and current pool committee member Jane Morales asked the current council to reconsider.

"Let's be proactive and learn what's out there," Morales said, emphasizing it costs no money for an RFP. Graydon Pool, a natural-bottomed pool, has been a controversial village facility recently, as conservationists fear updates would concrete the pool. 

Outgoing Councilman Patrick Mancuso said after the meeting it's unfair to seek plans if the village can't follow through on them.

"There's no money for this right now. Why would a business waste its time on a plan when we can't act on it?" he asked. "We have got to think positively on this and make sure the negativity doesn't rule us."

After Bernadette Walsh and Thomas Riche—candidates opposed to the RFP and endorsed by the Preserve Graydon Coalition—were comfortably elected in May, Mancuso told committee members he'd leave the RFP in the new council's hands.

According to Morales, Mancuso said, "The new council might feel as though something is being shoved down their throats," a claim the outgoing councilman did not refute.

The council members-elect attended last night's meeting. Riche, who Walsh subsequently concurred with, said, "We will have many important issues on the agenda that we will have to prioritize," adding that it would be "presumptuous" for them to tell the current council how to operate.

By issuing an RFP, Morales said, it gives the new council ideas to draw from—not handcuffing it.

"They have nothing to lose," she said, adding members could accept or reject any plans they wanted. "At least we'll be in a better position than we are in now."

In her prepared remarks, Morales outlined four concerns for Graydon going forward:

  1. Committee members Mancuso and Mayor David Pfund are leaving office, and therefore, the committee.
  2. When new council members take office, getting two new committee members "up to speed" will waste more time.
  3. Village Manager Dr. Kenneth Gabbert, who has already "made some really tough [budget] decisions" may "analyze the Graydon numbers and [say] 'We can't continue to operate the pool—it is losing too much money.' 
  4. The "antiquated" facility causes the recreation staff new challenges annually as conditions change.

Morales credited the committee for its positive returns but said several negatives continue to plague the pool. According to Morales, the chemical AQ-C28, which improved water clarity last year, also increased algae growth and required lifeguards to spend time removing the plant life.

Additionally, she cited pump deficiencies that have forced the Department of Parks and Recreation to borrow other village pumps to get the pool operational for its June 4 opening.

However, Mancuso credited the many gains the committee has made recently, including better equipment, water clarity, sand and publicity techniques.

Graydon Park itself recently celebrated its 100-year anniversary and was named to the "10 Most Endangered Historic Sites" list by nonprofit Preservation New Jersey. Also, The Record called for the plake's preservation in a May 21 editorial.

After the committee was established last fall to combat Graydon's monetary and water quality deficiencies—whether actual or perceived—it devised water quality and public relations strategies. In addition, it worded an RFP devoid of the term "concrete."

Initially, Morales said, the committee was ready to recommend the RFP in April but decided to wait the council election to proceed. She said the current council, which was involved in the process since the RPP's inception, should finish what it started. 

The new council takes office July 1.

Dominick Nizza May 27, 2010 at 02:27 PM
The current pool and the attempts to maintain it... is impossible. Without an alternate by "requesting a prospal" for a blending of design that would be acceptable to "ALL" you will never recover the lost 5,000 memberships and secure "financial assistance" and contributions from many sources. Suggest that it be shut down immediately ... and stop the continued loss of necessary funds from the "taxpayers" ... period
Dominick Nizza May 27, 2010 at 03:58 PM
Why do you "block" a Request for a Proposal"... it won't cost the Village anything? That would be the intelligent approach and action to take by responsible elected official and should be recommended by a our Village Mgr and also our CFO... Graydon is dead in the water! Your continued journey into this "never land"... is doing the most harm and not securing a bonafide recommendation. Your are in a self denial mode that all the Promotion in the world can't cure.... sorry, those are the facts.
Marthe Ludwig May 27, 2010 at 05:41 PM
It will cost time that could be spent on other issues. I agree with Derek. It seems to me, the people have spoken through their votes. Who's in self denial? We're lucky to have this beautiful park in our midst. Stop trying to run Graydon into the ground.
Alison Hunter May 27, 2010 at 08:25 PM
And obviously, much of the town DOES agree.
Alison Hunter May 27, 2010 at 09:25 PM
Sorry Derek, I thought you were saying you don't agree with what Marthe wrote. We went to Graydon last year and joined again this year and I hope attendence is way up this year!
AMAMOM May 27, 2010 at 09:49 PM
If your roof was leaking and you were just barely making your mortgage payments but you really really really wanted a new kitchen, would you be asking contractors for estimates? What if your husband or wife was against getting those estimates? We should not be putting out an RFP if we don't have the money or the consensus It is dishonest and misleading.
Marthe Ludwig May 27, 2010 at 11:12 PM
Amamom, Excellent metaphor. Well said.
Sam Fran Scavuzzo May 27, 2010 at 11:46 PM
Thanks for all the comments, guys. Just wanted to commend everyone for being so respectful of each other. I know this is a polar issue in town, so I appreciate the great tone and dialogue these comments have exhibited.
Gary J Negrycz May 28, 2010 at 01:55 PM
Ms Morales is being misleading. An RFP is a Request for Proposal. As currently configured the RFP asks Design Consultants to submitt priced Proposals to provide design services to create WE DON'T KNOW WHAT. Those services are not free. If we don't intend to spend the money what company is going to expend the funds necessary to create a response to the RFP. I think the next card in the game is the Revenue Bond where the Villagers are assured that the revenues from the new Graydon will pay for the bonds so it won't cost the Village anything. Except if the revenues don't cover the costs the village will either honor the moral obligation and pay the bill or no one will want Ridgewood Bonds so we will have no Credit. Just some thoughts.
Dominick Nizza May 28, 2010 at 03:34 PM
Ms Morales is NOT misleading... The Request for a Proposal from Design Consultants... would be based on ALL the accumulated data of the Pool Project Committee and any other interests and desires of all other groups. Included, could be a time progression of various segemts of a that recommended design. ie: Plan A... Plan B... Plan C ..etc... that would leave the final "financial recommend process" to be left to the CFO of the Village and potential gift givers. Ms Morales and certainly many others would find that acceptable .... and satisfy the interests for an improved a "Modernization" of Graydon to include the "best" of all ideas the old and new. If we know where we are going .... then the final process should BEGIN NOW ....and everyone should be on board without any further delay. Thanks for listening.... again.
Marthe Ludwig May 28, 2010 at 06:22 PM
Again, the majority has spoken. The votes show that a "modernization" or change of design isn't what most of us want. The pool was beautiful and the water was clean last year. All the plans have already been gone over and over, hashed and rehashed. RFP and Design Consultants are, at this point, a moot subject. Buy a badge and try it out this summer. Graydon is an enjoyable experience on a beautiful sunny day! I love the natural beauty...I would cringe at cheap and cheesy plastic slides and cement multi-sized pools. No sandy beach ...No thanks!
Gary J Negrycz May 28, 2010 at 06:25 PM
The plans A, B, C cost Money. You don't get the design ideas or the plans for free. The RFP sets time lines for conceptual drawings , design development and Constructiion documents, That timeline leaves no time to develop a program. A suggested program to go with a performance based request, asking for the least expensive short term capital expense and long term operating expense solutions combined with a design build proposal was shot down. Design Build solutions are being used in both public and private venues to unlock creative, innovative solutions. These solutions provide first cost and long term costs cost certainty because the design,government approval costs and design impacts, and the construction costs are linked contractually from day one. All of us are living with the fallout from believing that there is a free lunch. Lets balance our budget, restore our downtown, take care of our school system,before we chase synthetic solutions to natural ones that we already have paid for.
Marthe Ludwig May 28, 2010 at 09:15 PM
Gary: Thank you for giving this forum exactly what we needed. You have given us organized and practical facts, along with good advice, which I happen to agree with. You sound almost as though you could be a consultant...if you're not, maybe you should be!
Dominick Nizza March 28, 2012 at 12:06 PM
Former Editor Sam, nothing worthwhile to really improve membership since you posted this story on May 27, 2010. It's the same old mud hole.
News Man April 13, 2013 at 09:29 PM
Graydon will continue on its road to self destruction... while Village Council and Recreation dept still struggle to plan for this antiquated pool/pond and losing its appeal for another low turnout membership year. Oh, what to do, what to do....?


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