Just 10 days from summer's climactic event, the Oak Bluffs fireworks, top town officials are saying that Ocean Park will definitely host the blockbuster event even though they are still not happy with the condition of the park.
"Ocean Park will be used for the fireworks," said Bill Reich, manager for the wastewater project. The park was completely excavated over the winter and spring to install leaching beds for the new sewer system, scheduled to go on line in October.
Mr. Reich said the contractor has assured the town that the park is ready to handle the throngs of people expected to pack the public lawn. "The contractor is committed to an August 15 substantial completion date," he said. "In their mind, the grass is rooted sufficiently to allow pedestrian traffic."
But other problems remain. Drainage issues still plague one side of the park where poorly designed contours have caused water to pond up, killing the grass and leaving a mildew smell in the air.
Now, there are weeds and crab grass. Park commissioner Buddy deBettencourt said yesterday, "The condition of the park is a mess."
Mr. Reich agreed. "They didn't treat for weeds. The contractor basically let it get out of hand," he said. "They should have put down herbicide."
But according to Mr. Reich, the town won't pay the contractor until both the drainage and weed problems are corrected. That's likely to happen sometime after Labor Day, when the weather cools and some areas can get new sod, he added. "The grass still belongs to them," he said.
But Mr. deBettencourt wants to see a written agreement from the contractor agreeing to fix problems in Ocean Park even if the fireworks are held there. "I want to make sure that if we use it that one night, that we don't own the problem," he said. "I don't want to see the town get caught in that."
Meanwhile, Mr. deBettencourt said the town may try to find a temporary space for the town band to play on the evening of the fireworks. With the bandstand still under renovation, he said, a flatbed trailer may be the next best thing.
Mr. Reich said he expected the reflecting pool to be finished this week after many weeks of delays.