By Jay Cook |
SEA BRIGHT – A quick, 360-degree look around Ocean Avenue shows a number of different construction projects which officials view as the final pieces to the Super Storm Sandy rebuild efforts.
“A lot’s happening here in Sea Bright,” borough administrator Joe Verruni told The Two River Times this week. “Our elected officials are working extremely hard to make sure everything is on time and, more importantly, on budget.”
Here’s where the four major projects in Sea Bright stand as of this week.
Sea Wall Reconstruction
Significant progress is underway for a major seawall repair and construction project which was first announced in August 2014. Construction began on Sept. 6 and was initially anticipated to be completed in the summer of 2018. According to Verruni, “From the meetings I’ve sat in, it’s on schedule.”
According to a report in April by The Two River Times, the project was held up in state courts after a bidder fought the bid process, alleging it was inappropriate. The courts dismissed that claim.
The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) project is expected to cost upwards of $30 million. The cost will be covered with a 90 percent – 10 percent split between the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the state.
A letter sent to borough residents in August detailed the project, saying the sea wall repair “is intended to bolster the existing sea wall and fill historic gaps to create a unified, contiguous shore protection structure.” The project will extend into Monmouth Beach, but the Sea Bright portion is due for over 4,000 linear feet of repairs in eight different sections.
According to project information, 90,000 tons of new stone will be used along with resetting 24,000 tons of existing stone.
Beach Pavilion and Borough Library
Work on building a new beach pavilion center and borough library is also progressing in a timely fashion, Verruni said. After about six months of construction, he said a roof will soon be finished to protect from winter elements. He said the project is on track to be completed by Memorial Day 2018.
The new, three-story building will house the borough beach patrol, vehicle storage, an oceanfront library, public bathrooms and meeting space for borough meetings and event space.
“That will really be our centerpiece there on the beach,” Verruni said.
The building was designed by Red Bank-based architect Kevin Settembrino, a Middletown Township committeeman, who announced it to Sea Bright residents in May.
Funding for the new pavilion is available through a $4 million bond referendum approved by Sea Bright voters last year.
Also approved by borough voters last October, the larger, $7.9 million bond for a new municipal complex will soon take steps toward construction.
Verruni said the new borough hall is in final design. “Hopefully within the next 30 days we’ll be out to bid on that project and we’re anticipating being able to award the contract by the end of January of 2018.” He anticipates it to be a 14- to 16-month-long project.
The brand-new building will house the police and fire departments on the lower level and municipal offices on the second level. Verruni said it will be built where the former fire station and police department used to be.
Plans to erect an 80-foot-tall cell tower operated by Verizon Wireless have been put on hold until next month, Verruni said. The telecommunications company is waiting until the seawall construction crews move away from the project area, he said.
The cell tower was approved by the borough council in 2014 but it took Verizon a few years to secure CAFRA permits from the DEP. Verruni said Verizon now has all the necessary permits. Work was initially slated to begin on Sept. 19 but was pushed back due to high winds from Hurricane Jose in September.
The cell tower will have a 700-square-foot associated building attached and will be built behind borough hall, where a temporary cell tower currently stands. Frank Lawrence, a special projects administrative assistant for Sea Bright, told The Two River Times in September that Verizon would pay a $35,000 annual fee to the borough to use the tower with a three percent escalation fee. Councilman Brian Kelly said additional carriers could rent space on the tower for $20,000 annually. He added that Verizon would entirely pay for the cell tower construction.
This article was first published in the Nov. 30-Dec. 7, 2017 print edition of the Two River Times.
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