Middlebush Sound System Bids Rejected, Volume Specs Too Low

1-12-16 Meeting - 15

Concerns raised by Mayor Phillip Kramer about the volume of proposed speakers at Middlebush Park resulted in the Township Council rejecting submitted bids for the system.

Bids for the planned sound system in Middlebush Park were rejected Jan. 12 by the Township Council because the volume level specifications were found to be too low.

Township Manager Robert Vornlocker said that he brought concerns about the volume, raised by Mayor Phillip Kramer, to Eric Zwerling of Rutgers University, a nationally known sound expert. Zwerling, Vornlocker said, agreed with Kramer’s assessment that the system would not be heard by people in the football fields’  stands.

Zwerling said the council “should consider rejecting the bids and go back to re-bid with new specifications.”

“It’s kind of pointless to have a sound system if you can’t hear it in the stands,” Vornlocker said.

The park sound system issue came to a head in 2014, when homeowners adjacent to Middlebush pushed the Township Council to not approve the system, which was requested by the Pop Warner football program. After months of meetings – some of them contentious – a compromise was reached with residents agreeing to a sound system with the volume set to a specific level that would not be able to be heard at their property lines.

After the Jan. 12 meeting, Kramer said the volume called for in the specifications, 65 decibels, would have been too low.

“If you’re sitting in the stands and talking, you may not be able to hear the speakers,” he said. “People would have complained.”

Kramer said the volume needs to be loud enough that people in the stands can hear the announcer, but, he said, the new specifications will still call for the sound to not be audible at the neighboring property lines.

Vornlocker told the council that he has asked Zwerling what a more appropriate volume would be, and he expects to hear back in a week or two.

“Once I get that word back, we can go out to bid,” he said. “Once we go out with the specifications, it’s a relatively quick process to get the system.”

Vornlocker also told the council that bids for the park’s planned concession stand came in over the estimated budget and were also rejected.

“We’ve gone back to the drawing board,” he said.

A new set of specifications that call for a pre-fabricated building will come in under budget, he said.

“The estimates are within the budget constraints put on when the last phase of the park was designed,” he said.


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