2005-12-16 / Community

Clark Gets More Time To Deliver The Dome

By Brian Magoolaghan

In a last-ditch effort to get the job done, representatives from the Tribute Park Committee staged an impromptu visit to Patrick Clark’s studio this week and made a promising discovery: Clark hard at work on the overdue dome.

Jonathan Gaska and Dan Mundy left the Tribute Park Committee meeting held Wednesday morning at the Chamber of Commerce office on Beach 116 Street and took a two-block walk to Clark’s studio on Beach Channel Drive. When they arrived, Clark was working on one of the 10 glass sections that will make the top of the dome, Gaska told The Wave.

“I was surprised,” Gaska said. “He accomplished more than I thought. I got the sense that he really wants to get this thing done,” he added.

Gaska and Mundy shared their findings with the committee, which was meeting specifically to discuss how to handle Clark, who, after numerous delays and negotiating sessions, broke his contract and failed to deliver the dome by December 1. After hearing from Gaska and Mundy, the committee decided it will not seek legal action against Clark at this time, according to Chamber president John Lepore.

The committee isn’t setting another deadline at this time because, as Gaska said, “What’s the use?”

Instead, Clark will have as much time as he needs as long as Mundy and Gaska see significant progress during weekly visits. Lepore said Clark, at his current pace, could be ready to do installation work at the site by early to mid January. Whether or not work can actually be done at that time is up to Mother Nature. Clark said snow, ice or high winds would cause delays but cold weather alone would not.

Lepore said the Chamber weighed two options: Give Clark more time, have faith and monitor his progress, or dump Clark, try to recover some of the tens of thousands of dollars he has already been paid and go back to square-one on that part of the project.

“There was a lot of lively talk about enforcing the contract and what we have to gain or lose,” Lepore said. “We decided that – in the best interest of the park – it would not be good to pull

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the plug on [Clark] now.” Nixing the dome altogether, or simply leaving it the way it is now, is not an option because Clark’s glass panels will pay tribute to 75 people who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. “We want to honor those people,” Lepore said.

If Clark is stalling because he wants more money, as sources close to the project have suggested before, his tactics appear to have been successful. Lepore said a benefactor has stepped up to privately fund the bolts that Clark cited as the reason for his most recent delay, which means Clark won’t have to pay for them himself. Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer has also secured additional grant money of about $16,000 that will be paid to Clark upon completion. That money is perhaps the last bargaining chip the Tribute Park Committee holds.

Calls to Clark’s workshop and cell phone went unreturned.

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