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Penfield Pavilion Costs Rise Again

A project to renovate and construct a new pavilion at Penfield Beach to replace the 110-year-old facility has hit multiple snags through the process, but is now closer to completion.

But as the final phases of construction go to bid, the building commission in charge of the project now says it will take an estimated $3.2 million to complete the west and center sections. Those are the main parts of the building and include a kitchen, deck and gathering area.

The pavilion is currently used in the summer by residents for marriages, family gatherings and simply as a place to relax on weekends.

Those costs, according to commission chairman Jim Gallagher, are on top of $1.8 million already spent on the demolition and rebuilding of the pavilion's east wing, which was completed this spring. The town put a bid request on the purchasing section of its website this weekend, with a deadline of July 14.

First selectman Ken Flatto said his concern with the project is the "creep in cost." The town originally expected to have to spend $2.1 million, based on an estimate last year and then $2.8 million based on an incomplete estimate made this April.

But Gallagher said despite the costs, the commission has "heard nothing negative about this project." He said they have "really, really tried to keep expenses down," listing aesthetic changes that were made in the plans, including eliminating a proposed cupola for the roof, second-floor office space, seasonal lockers and a movable glass wall instead of French doors. Those changes cut the estimate down from $3.6 million to $3.2 million. The town will be receiving a $200,000 state grant and hopes the bids will come in lower than expected, as they did in the recent Metro Center bidding process.

Selectman James Walsh said he was worried that the elimination of aesthetic elements would dissuade residents from using the pavilion. Gallagher said that the building would "not be bland, just not as elegant as we would have liked."

Gallagher said he does not expect construction to begin by Labor Day as planned and as a result, it will not be completed by Memorial Day 2011. He said he will not have time to bring the proposal before the three boards it needs to clear–the selectmen, the Board of Finance and the RTM–because their meetings are limited over the summer.

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