Ship Bottom Hires New Architect to Revive Municipal Complex Project

Mar 28, 2019
Photo by: Ryan Morrill

The borough council gave the long-dormant Ship Bottom municipal complex project a shot in the arm last month when it appointed an architect to spearhead the design of new digs at the existing site between 16th and 17th streets and the Boulevard.

Council President Edward English was not present for the March 26 vote that awarded a contract to Elliot W. Goldstein, AIA, PP, of the Maplewood firm The Goldstein Partnership. Goldstein is under contract with the borough through Dec. 31, according to Resolution 2019-53.

“We’re very excited,” Councilman Joe Valyo, who chairs the borough’s public property and community affairs committee, said after the meeting. “This has been kicked around for a long time.”

Prior to the League of Municipalities annual event in Atlantic City in the fall, where The Goldstein Partnership had a booth, the council had been revisiting pre-Superstorm Sandy designed plans for a new municipal complex.

“We wanted a different perspective,” Valyo said, noting the previous design was around for a long time prior to October 2012. “As a borough, our needs have changed drastically since Sandy. It’s a whole new ballgame.”

The Goldstein Partnership was founded in 1953 and has designed or consulted on projects in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin, 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.

While there is no artist rendition of a new municipal complex yet, Valyo said the intent is to have the new structure blend in with the borough’s aesthetic environment and keep the small-town feeling that is so indicative of Ship Bottom.

“They’re (the firm) meeting with department heads to determine what their needs are,” the councilman said, adding he believes a preliminary sketch could be available before Memorial Day weekend. “We’re fast-tracking this. Our current building isn’t going to last forever.”

It was nearly a year ago when Mayor William Huelsenbeck revived interest in the pre-Sandy plans to determine whether they were still viable, noting the roof structure on the current building can’t be repaired anymore because the corrugated metal structure of the roof isn’t strong enough to bear more repairs and the building itself couldn’t withstand a new roof.

Those plans called for building a new municipal complex at the back of the existing location, so it would be closer to Central Avenue than the Boulevard, with parking in front of the structure, he said.

That’s no longer the case, according to Valyo, who said the new municipal complex is going to be built in front of the existing one. It will be closer to the Boulevard, he said.

“We’ll continue to work in the existing building until we’re ready to move into the new one,” he said. “Then we’ll demolish the old building and have parking at the back of the building.”

Valyo said the architect has been instructed to keep the U.S. post office in mind when designing the new municipal building.

“We’re not building for now,” he said. “We’re building for the future. The new building is going to be around for years to come.”

— Gina G. Scala

ggscala@thesandpaper.net

 

 

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