Fall 2020 Preliminary Start Date for Ship Bottom Municipal Complex

By Gina G. Scala | Sep 11, 2019

Ship Bottom — If all goes as planned, construction of a new Ship Bottom municipal complex in Long Beach Island’s gateway community could begin sometime after the close of the 2020 summer season. The schematic design plans are expected this month and a contract for the project could be awarded in the first quarter of the new year.

Officials must also have an asbestos review of the existing building, according to Kathleen Flanagan, chief financial officer for the borough.

“We’re really moving on this,” Councilman Joe Valyo, who is overseeing the project, said recently. “We’re past the conceptual stage. We know where the offices are going to be located and the (U.S.) Post Office has signed off (on the design).”

As it currently stands, the plans call for a two-story building fronting Long Beach Boulevard with two-tiered parking in the back of the building. The police department and the post office would both be located on the first floor of the building, according to the current plans. Municipal offices, including the meeting room which will also double as the courtroom, same as now, are on the second floor.

“It’s in three phases,” Valyo said of how the project is being handled. “First, the new building is constructed. Then, we demolish this building and then we do the site work, including parking.”

Borough officials agreed to that course of action because they wanted minimal impact to the everyday needs of running the resort community and to residents, according to Valyo.

After nearly a decade of dormancy, Mayor William Huelsenbeck last year revived interest in a new municipal complex when he ordered a review of pre-Superstorm Sandy plans for the project at the existing location. He wanted to know if the plans were still viable and, if not, if there was an easy fix to keep those plans in place. When it became clear the plans would no longer work, officials decided on a new course of action.

Earlier this year, the borough council awarded a contract to Elliot W. Goldstein of the Maplewood architectural firm The Goldstein Partnership. He is under contract with the borough through the end of the year. The firm was selected because officials wanted a different perspective after revisiting the pre-Superstorm Sandy project to build a new municipal complex at the existing location between 16th and 17th streets and the Boulevard.

“As a borough, our needs have changed drastically since Sandy,” according to Valyo. “It’s a whole new ballgame.”

The Goldstein Partnership was founded in 1953 and has designed or consulted on projects all over the country, according to its website. Locally, the firm worked on the municipal complex in Barnegat Township and in Monmouth County on the Brielle and Colts Neck municipal complexes.

In July, the council adopted an ordinance appropriating $4 million for the project. Of the $4 million, the borough will cover the $200,000 down payment and the remaining $3.8 million will be bonded, according to Ordinance 2019-16.

“The improvement hereby authorized and the purpose for which the bonds or notes are to be issued is Phase II of the construction, to the east of the existing building, of the new Borough Hall, including, but not limited to, site work in connection with the entire site, construction of a new parking lot, installation of landscaping and sight lighting and all costs incurred in connection therewith, and including all work, services, and materials necessary,” according to the ordinance.

It also authorizes the borough chief financial officer to determine all matters in connection with bond notes issued in accordance with the measure, including selling part or all of the notes from time to time at public or private sale and deliver them to purchasers once payment has been received. Any grant money received and allocated for the project will be applied as a direct payment or as payment of the bond.

Valyo said under the current timetable, borough employees would move into the new municipal complex sometime in early 2021 and the site work, including parking, would be completed sometime in June of that year.

The new municipal complex could be up and running prior to the completion of the final phase of the state Department of Transportation’s federally funded expansion and rehab of the Causeway, the only access road on and off Long Beach Island.

— Gina G. Scala

ggscala@thesandpaper.net

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