EPCAL ballfields now expected to open in mid-June

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | The ballfields at EPCAL are expected to open in two months..

The latest estimate for the opening of the long-planned ballfields at the Enterprise Park at Calverton is mid-June, according to Riverhead Town Councilman George Gabrielsen.

The EPCAL ballfield proposal, which include four baseball/softball fields as well as new soccer fields, goes back at least eight years, and has been delayed by requirements at the state and county levels, as well as by disputes among town officials over what features to include in the park.

“I’ve been involved with this since day one,” said Mr. Gabrielsen, a member of the town’s recreation advisory committee for many years before becoming a Town Board member. “It will be nice to finally see it done.”

The town opened bids for the final part of the project last Wednesday and expects to award a contract based on those bids at a special meeting soon, according to Mr. Gabrielsen, who is the board liaison on recreational actives.

The town received 11 bids with the lowest being a bid of $538,635 by LandTek of Amityville. The highest bid received was for $1.185 million.

This job involved putting in dugouts, a batting cage, bullpens, walkways and fencing, Mr. Gabrielsen said.

Work on the parking lot at the EPCAL fields is also finishing up, Mr. Gabrielsen said. The town awarded that contract to Laser Industries of Ridge on March 22 for $236,000, after rejecting an initial set of bids prior to that. At last Tuesday’s meeting, the Town Board also approved a change order for an additional $38,000 on the parking lot project, Mr. Gabrielsen said, after the town determined that additional sand and drainage castings would be needed.

The ballfield proposal has gone through a variety of configurations over the years, including one in which a $7.5 million indoor recreational facility was part of the project back in 1985. Board members also have debated issues like whether to put lights on the fields and whether to have artificial turf fields.

Recreation Supervisor Ray Coyne said in February that the town had spent $1.7 million on the project so far. That was during a discussion on whether to add $800,000 to install lights to allow night games at the ballfields, a proposal that ultimately was pushed off.

The town also has rejected Mr. Coyne’s recommendation for artificial turf fields.

Mr. Gabrielsen said the parking lot should be done in about a week.

“The parking lot is the key to the whole thing,” he said. “Once that’s open, the soccer fields are open, the baseballs are open and the walking trail is open.”

Officials have said the EPCAL fields will be used for adult softball leagues so that Stotzky Park can be used for youth games.

Once the new park is complete, Phase Two of the project will involve building new tennis courts behind the new parking lot, Mr. Gabrielsen said.

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