Correction made, 9:26 p.m. May 2: No bids have been submitted.
NORWALK, Conn. – The deadline for bids on the opportunity to construct a practice range at Norwalk’s Oak Hill Park has been moved back to May 22. No bids have been submitted, Norwalk Purchasing Agent Gerald Foley said.
The deadline had been 2 p.m. Wednesday. On Tuesday, the city issued an addendum extending the deadline to 2 p.m. May 22.
“We were asked by potential bidders to extend the submission because more time was needed to put their financing in place,” Oak Hills Park Authority driving range committee Chairman Ernie DesRochers said in an email. “Given the difficult nature of the capital markets and the concern by the friends of Oak Hills that bidders be appropriately capitalized, it was felt by the OHPA committee that we should grant the request.”
Outspoken practice range Paul Cantor critic is skeptical.
“I don’t know the reason for the extension,” he said in an email. “My assumption is the obvious one: the OHPA did not receive a bid that was acceptable even by the relaxed conditions stipulated in its RFP.”
Jim Downing of TOTAL Driving Range Solutions said last week that he was excited about submitting a proposal, but that he needed to line up a new funder.
Cantor remains skeptical that a practice range would do what OHPA is counting on it to do – get the park into the black.
“I don’t expect the extension will lead to them getting a bid that will show any promise of helping alleviate their financial difficulties,” he said in an email. “In other words, I doubt anyone will be willing to construct and operate a practice range on the proposed site by the restaurant and then agree to share a significant percentage of the revenue generated by the practice range (via rent and a percentage of its gross revenue) with the OHPA. My response to the process so far is that what we are witnessing is an example of the kind of special interest politics that works against the interest of the majority. As I have said before, the proposed driving range is as likely to contribute to the OHPA’s financial problems as to help alleviate them.”