“If the cleanup costs cost us the full amount, and we have to dip into the authorization, we may have to change the scope of the park project itself,” Kezer said. “If one segment costs more, we’ll spend less than expected on future portions.”
According to Kezer, the $431,358 figure assumes that W.L. French digs up three feet of contaminated soil across the entire project area. Given that certain areas are less contaminated than others, and that areas slated to become parking lots or concrete pathways won’t need as much work, Kezer said the city could save money by not digging the full three feet in those places.
He also said that the soil close to the river would likely be covered by funds as part of the separate Riverwalk project, that way the lengthy Chapter 91 permitting process for that area wouldn’t interfere with the project’s deadlines.
“Basically the point of all that is we have a whole bunch of options,” Kezer said. “It may be that the actual cost of the cleanup is lower than projected, and if that happens we’ll be all set. If it comes in at the high end, we’ll have to trim back on the park piece of it or get Mass Development to kick in more money or get a loan, which would be paid back when we surplus the development pad that we’re going to sell off.”
Kezer said he expects the contractor will break ground on the project before the end of the year. There will be no road closures as a result of the project, and Kezer hopes the cleanup will be complete by next spring.