By Vincent Ferrer
FAIR HAVEN – Residents got their first look at concept plans for new municipal buildings to replace the existing public works building and police headquarters.
More than 200 residents attended the Borough Council’s Jan. 10 session at the Knollwood School gymnasium. They heard architect Eli Goldstein explain the current state of disrepair of existing municipal facilities.
The police department, formerly a school building, has decomposing stucco, water damage, improper wiring and several ADA violations. Similar shortcomings and noncompliance were shown for the current community center.
The concept plans call for the construction of a new public works building on a portion of its present site on Third Street, featuring a reduced size and more residential aesthetic. According to the borough’s timeline, it will be completed by early 2020.
A second project would see the construction of a new municipal/police building at River Road and Cedar Avenue, to be completed by spring 2021. The new municipal building’s first floor would be the new home of the borough police department. The second floor would house municipal offices and services, while the third floor would serve as a council meeting room and storage area.
There is a third project, to convert the existing municipal library building into a library and community center by the end of 2021. The library would be moved to the downstairs floor, effectively doubling its size, and the top level would be converted into a community center.
“This is not a want, this is a need,” said Mayor Benjamin Lucarelli. Some residents applauded the council’s use of the open forum, but were quick to voice concerns over added traffic, environmental impact and tax implications for residents.
“I know the council wants to get something approved, but I just don’t remember asking for it,” said one resident.
Theresa Casagrande, the borough administrator, said the project’s estimated price tag is still being determined. “Once we get more detailed plans, we will start to look at costs,” said Casagrande. Uncertainty also remains over how much the borough might receive from the NJ Library Construction Bond Act, which the borough plans to apply for once criteria is announced.
A similar presentation will be made before the Fair Haven Borough Planning Board in the coming weeks. The full special meeting presentation is available on the borough’s website at fairhavennj.org.
This article was first published in the Feb.7-14, 2019 print edition of The Two River Times.
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