Town Hall/Police Project Proceeds Despite Problems

Contractors have made mistakes on the Memorial Town Hall project but they're being corrected.


Renovations to Memorial Town Hall continue, and while the work will soon wrap up, the path to completion hasn't always been smooth.

There's been mistakes made, but luckily for the town, it won't cost it any more money, construction monitor Joseph DiSanti told the Town Building Committee recently.

But that's not likely the case when it comes to the Police Department's sallyport, which was designed too small and needs to be enlarged. It's likely to cost $180,000, DeSanti said, which will have to be taken up soon at a joint meeting of the committee and the Legislative Council.

The sallyport work will be done at the same time the planned parking garage is constructed as part of that project, he said. The two old buildings next to the new Police Department will be demolished and replaced with the parking garage, possibly by the end of the year.

"All the contractors gave a price based on doing the work at the same time as the parking garage," he said. "If it is going to be done it should be done at the same time because you will be getting a better price."

"We will have to have a joint building committee/Legislative Council meeting," said building committee chairman John DeRosa, who also sits on the council, "and there will certainly be some discussion."

There also will likely be discussion about last weekend storm, which led to flooding issues at the new police department. The Fire Department had to be called in to pump out the booking area because of the water that collected there.

Meanwhile, problems with work at Town Hall have cropped up, including mismeasured granite steps leading up to the front doors that had to be redone, he said.

"Each had to be refabricated because they were done wrong," he said. "It was not coordinated properly."

The circular granite around the flagpole also was cut too short, he said, and had to be redone.

"The contractor has taken responsibility," DiSanti said.

The appearance of the project has prompted complaints from residents, one committee member said.

"I can't tell you how many complaints I've gotten about the empty cement bags and the pallets and the five gallon pails," committee member Jack Kenelly said.

"They have brought in people in the last few days to take the weeds down," DiSanti said. A new fence was erected around the bus stop in front of the building that was recently put out of service, he said, because people continued to use it and leave debris behind.

Inside the town hall, the auditorium renovation is almost complete, DiSanti said, but that too has had its challenges.

Wall panels were made too large, he said, and had to be redone, so it took longer to install than planned. There also is a problem with the handicap lift that needs to be resolved, he said, either by adjusting the lift itself or the floor pitch.

But one of the larger concerns is the room's acoustics, he said.

"I was in the auditorium yesterday and noticed it was very, very echoey," he told the committee. Just filling the room with chairs probably wouldn't solve the problem, he said.

Once the building is finished, town board and commissions such as the Legislative Council and the Planning and Zoning Commission will once again meet in the auditorium, so making it acoustically correct was a priority for the committee. 

"We do not want feedback in the microphones," committee member Al Gorman, who also serves on the Legislative Council, said. "Otherwise, we might as well as left it like it was."

A new elevator is being installed in the lobby, DiSanti said, and the lobby area itself is being restored. 

The cost of the combined Town Hall/Police Department project is $40 million.



Thomas Alegi August 17, 2012 at 11:59 AM
Mayor Jackson would you please explain to HamdenPatch readers, why is it that there are no delay times associated with these problems, seeing this project is way over cost estimates and time estimates. In addition, Mayor Jackson, why where those problems with the Town Hall/Police Project not made public to Hamden voters before the last town election, and why it is only after a Democrat Party primary are Hamden voters finding out about those Town Hall/Police Project problems. A majority of informed Hamden residents would say Mayor Jackson you know about those Town Hall/Police Project problems for some time, or if you did not know about those problems, these same informed Hamden residents would say you were asleep at the wheel, again. Which is it, Mayor Jackson?
karleen loughran August 17, 2012 at 03:10 PM
I do hope people read this, this is amazing! How sloppy, this would not be tolerated if it were a private business being renovated, why is our government putting up with this and to what expense to the taxpayer?
RPSmith August 17, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Funny how the contractors are always to blame but never the politicians that conceived and administrated this project. Does anyone remember when Police Chief Wydra was on TV blaming the architect for the flawed design of the Sallyport? The project was reviewed and vetted by wydra, the administration and council, so who's really to blame? If it were truly the architect then they would be picking up the 183k change, not the public. Does anyone remember when Mayor Jackson, while right hand man for the Henrici, repeatedly told the public that this renovation was going to cost only 20 million.? Yet we are still "on time and under budget" at 40 million? Does the 40 million dollar budget referenced still include the long awaited parking garage or is that now a separate project? How much is the new communication system going to cost and is that included in the 40 million dollar budget? 4 years ago the radio / communication equipment alone was quoted at 1 million alone and it was not part of the construction budget. How bout the furnishings for 40,000 sq. ft. of offices Why has this project taken so long? Why are the weeds & litter such an eyesore? This project is yet another example of the total arrogance and incompetence of our local government. While the economy has been in shambles with average folks struggling and while the Pension Fund has been in crisis or local government embarked on this foolishness.
Linda C August 17, 2012 at 05:24 PM
Thomas, even though I appreciate your more than valid questions to Mayor Jackson. I don't want you sitting around idle waiting for his answer. In his August 11th article in the Register he is quoted as saying "I don't respond in the press to private citizens". http://ctcentral.newspaperdirect.com/epaper/viewer.aspx# Your best bet would be to call his office, however during his ENTIRE time as Mayor I've YET TO FIND HIM IN HIS OFFICE! He is always OUT at a meeting. Safe to say your questions like so many others will fall by the wayside. If it's any consolation to you, I can give you my opinion. HE'S TOTALLY INCOMPETENT! I think that covers it ALL!
Ron Gambardella August 17, 2012 at 05:44 PM
Wow! RPSmith has been paying attention. It is refreshing and amazing to see citizens actually holding the administration accountable. The project has been a disaster from its inception. The same politicians continue to be elected time and time again. The voting public cannot continue to endorses this behavior. If there is never a worry about losing an election, then there is never any accountability to do the right thing! The Hamden Republicans are working hard to give voters a choice in the next local election. Our ideas are worth considering. The Republicans endorsed building a new facility on Putnam Avenue on land the town owned in a $6M sale. Then, subsequently sold off for a fraction of the cost. We supported replacing the pension fund with a sustainable plan. We supported curtailing the relentless tax increases. We supported holding the BOE more accountable for their expenditures. We supported debt reduction strategies. We supported greater citizen participation and oversight in government. Yet, the same people continue to win elections and slowly bringing the town to the brink of financial ruin. The time for change is now!
Thomas Alegi August 18, 2012 at 01:58 AM
Linda, as Mayor Jackson stated in an article in the Register on August 11th, "I don't respond in the press to private citizens". The more unanswered questions by private citizens, the more private citizens doubt Mayor Jackson’s public interest and his knowledge of town affairs. Linda, I think your opinion of Mayor Jackson does cover it all “HE'S TOTALLY INCOMPETENT!”
Don Charles August 18, 2012 at 01:41 PM
This was a good example of the blind leading the blind. Just look at who was on the building committee, An air condition company owner, an ex police chief who was and is a Half A## contractor, an electrician a LC member who I believe works at the new haven docks etc. all these were involved or on the legislative council. Linda you are correct, he looks good, sounds good and that's it. INCOMPETENCE is the word along with his ASST. the Comic Book King Leng. The overseer of the project was another phony who was never available or inspecting what was being done.When he did look at the project he just said okay. I also understand that the Hamden Building Dept. had their hands tied and could not make waves. Hell of a way to build a multi million dollar project in a town that is overrun by taxes and poor services. Have you all noticed the new front steps being ripped apart and needing repairs. I was in favor of this project and still think it was a good idea, however once again Politics was involved and a bunch of incompetents were put in charge. Almost sounds like the group we have in charge in DC.
Thomas Alegi August 19, 2012 at 05:20 AM
All Hamden building projects have had issues, remember the High School the Middle School the Main Library to name a few.
Don Charles August 19, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Why? simple answer…Incompetent Politicians!!!! With big egos!!!!
S Tadik August 20, 2012 at 10:53 PM
My first reaction to why this appeared somewhere in New Canaan Patch was, "Why are we seeing this"? After I read it, though, it looks like a forecast of what we don't need in the renovations of the NC Town Hall. Note to First Selectman: Just because an add-on project like the unplanned new sidewalks for the Main Street King's Grant Condos is only a small % of a large project, it does not follow that the $ expenditure is insignificant. It is especially disgusting when the overall project estimated costs were manipulated to show one side of the street cheaper than the other for political and power trip reasons. Design by politicians is always worse than design by competent engineers or, in the case of buildings, architects and engineers. By the way, when does Town Council or the Finance Board or the Board of Selectmen get a public accounting of the costs of this turkey? Good job, Emily, for supplying food for citizen thought.
Ronald Mikolinski August 21, 2012 at 01:32 AM
Ron Mikolinski What town in this country has 2 Town halls no wonder our taxes keep going up what a joke.The place is butchered my 5 yr old son could have built it better. No body with any building experience thats for sure.
LINDA September 28, 2012 at 01:23 PM
What we need is the press to become involved in all these mistakes. He can't hide from the press like us. No other way of getting the people of Hamden to change their voting ways unless there is constant press on the incompetence and lies being thrown our way. Maybe channel 8 should be called to finds the mayor.


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