TSG Completes Work on New Essex County Pony Ride Trail
April 12, 2016
The Shauger Group, Inc. (TSG) has kicked off spring by completing a new and improved attraction at the Essex County Turtle Back Zoo: the County’s new Pony Ride Trail. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on March 21, 2016, to unveil the new Pony Ride Trail and its facilities to the public.
After many years of use, the site’s existing sun shelter, which had also been used for pony rides, was in need of substantial attention and renovation.
One of the main advantages of the improved facility is that it contains an open-air pavilion, which will enable the facility to be used in various weather conditions. Families visiting the zoo, as well as the animals, will benefit from the protection the pavilion will offer from the hot sun and extreme precipitation. The presence of the pavilion will also allow the Pony Ride Trail’s operations to continue year-round, bringing additional revenue to the County and year-round enjoyment to visitors.
Another advantage of the reconstructed pony trail is that the ponies can now be kept directly on site. Previously, the ponies were housed in nearby petting zoos located at the top of a hill above the site; for rides, staff members needed to move the ponies to and from the former pony trail area via means of a public walking path. Now that six pony stalls have been installed in the new barn and four pony corrals have been added to the pavilion, this problem has been eliminated for riders and staff in the future.
A publicly bid project, the Essex County Pony Ride Trail improvement project’s bid opening was held on August 13, 2015. TSG was determined to be the lowest responsible responsive bidder with a bid of $762,611. The County issued the notice to proceed on September 10, 2015, after which TSG had 120 calendar days to complete the project.
TSG commenced working on or about September 28, 2015, and concluded construction in early March.
TSG first cleared the site, demolishing the existing structure and grading the site level. TSG faced an immediate challenge due to the site’s very tight space constraints—a challenge with which TSG was forced to contend during its entire six-month-long stay at the site. Because of the small working area, it was not only tough to fit and maneuver necessary construction equipment, but it was also essential for TSG to perform construction in a specific order.
To accommodate this, TSG had to commence work at the farthest end of the site and then systematically work its way back. Consequently, TSG put up a retaining wall on the back half of the site and completed the pavilion before beginning work on the barn. If TSG had reversed the order of construction, the barn would have blocked access to the area where the pavilion was to be constructed.
Standing 84 feet long by 36 feet wide, the new pavilion contains a pony trail loop and four pony corrals. Within the pavilion, TSG installed a crushed quarry stone floor, as well as a split rail fence for the indoor trail. The rail barrier is made of pressure-treated timber and polyvinyl mesh.
Trimmed with cedar and adorned with a decorative cedar cupola, the new barn is 36 feet wide and 48 feet long. TSG installed asphalt shingle roofing and aluminum gutters to the outside of the structure, and applied stain to both the exterior and interior of the barn. Inside, wooden stall dividers separate the 12’ by 12’ stalls, which are situated with four stalls on one side and two on the opposite side. The concrete floor has a drainage system, including a one-foot-wide trench drain. The barn can be entered and exited through breezeway sliding doors.
Both the pavilion and the barn contain electrical service and interior lighting. The barn also contains plumbing, a hot water heater, and interior water lines.
TSG has also completed irrigation work and landscaping, including the installation of shrubs and maple trees.
The Pony Ride Trail is the latest of a host of projects TSG has performed at the Essex County South Mountain Recreation Complex. TSG’s prior projects include, but are not limited to, the construction of the Treetop Adventure Course, Prehistoric Park, MiniGolf Safari, and various exhibits at the Turtle Back Zoo.