The county has filed a $4 million suit against the designer, builder and insurer of the Quiet Waters Park ice-skating rink, claiming shoddy work has kept residents from using the rink for almost two years.
The suit seeks $2 million from Greenman Pedersen Inc., the county's New York-based architectural consultant; $1.5 million from C. W. Davis Supply, the rink builder; and $500,000 from Fidelity and Guaranty Insurance Co., which insured the project.
The suit, filed late Wednesday in Anne Arundel Circuit Court, alleges that Davis breached its $915,000 contract because it failed to build an operable rink.
"The design and construction of the ice rink and reflecting pool were defective," the suit alleges.
Ronald McHargue, president of C. W. Davis, was unavailable for comment yesterday. In earlier interviews, he said that when the rink was shut down in 1993, his company dispatched repair crews on several occasions, but the problem could not be pinpointed.
Jay A. Cuccia, chief of special facilities for the Department of Recreation and Parks, said the county plans to repair the rink and open it by mid-November. The county's capital budget includes roughly $350,000 for hiring another contractor to make repairs, he said.
The suit alleges that the rink's steel pipes leaked refrigerant, its concrete cracked, its tiles peeled off because of faulty adhesive and its condenser, needed to chill the ice, does not work properly.
The suit says Greenman Pedersen, which was paid $278,000 as the park's architect and $104,000 for services related to the rink, breached its contract by failing to warn county officials of the rink's defects.
Fidelity was named as a defendant because it failed to pay the county as required under terms of a $500,000 bond on the project, the suit alleges.
Sue Lovell, a spokeswoman for Fidelity, said the claim was not denied but that it has not been paid because the insurance company requested more information from the county about the claim and the county never responded.
"We have an open file in that case," she said.
Daniel J. Maletic, branch manager for Greenman Pedersen's Laurel office, said that company was never responsible for inspecting or approving the rink. The rink was supervised directly by county officials, and the rest of the park facilities came under the architect's supervision, he said.
"We are, at this point, in the dark as to why the county thinks we're responsible for this," he said.
The 6-year-old rink attracted up to 1,000 skaters a day during the Christmas holidays. It was first shut down Dec. 15, 1993, when maintenance crews discovered leaks in the 1.5 miles of underground pipes that chill the ice, park officials said.
The 190-by-180-foot rink reopened for about a day and then closed for the season two days later. The skating season usually would have run from Nov. 20 to Feb. 28.
Mr. Cuccia said the rink had to be shut down again last year because the problems kept recurring.
"They'd fix a leak and then pressurize the system, and no sooner were they finished and gone than there would be other problems," Mr. Cuccia said. "There were so many leaks occurring it was just impossible to maintain."
Mr. Cuccia said Laws Engineering Inc. of Atlanta has been paid $18,000 to determine the cause of the rink's original design problems.
"We want to be able to understand what happened, so that it doesn't happen again," he said.