By DANIELLE TEPPER
A borough-owned house at 466 Prospect Avenue, located next to Borough Hall, was demolished last Tuesday to make room for a new parking lot.
Mayor Bob Neff said the property, which the town bought in 2005 for $625,000, had been vacant for a few months. As it would not have been cost effective to bring the structure up to ADA code, the borough council decided in April to create a new lot for 25 to 30 cars.
In addition, a new structure is planned for the site. Under a $327,499 contract with Sakoutis Builders & Land Developers of Jackson, the building will be used for required recreational and police storage as well as public restrooms to eliminate the need for PortaJohns. A concession stand is also included.
I think it was both a strategic and smart move on our part to offer an extra step of hospitality to those in the community, said Councilman Jon Bitman.
The demolition of the house, which also includes a small garage on the property, cost the town $19,800.
While parking is always a problem, Neff believes the new overflow lot might alleviate the issue a bit.
It will help with weekend sporting events over at Markham Place School, so people dont have to walk from shopping centers,” he said. “Eventually it will be connected to the lot directly behind borough hall, allowing for both public and municipal use.
Not all local residents were pleased with the plan when it was discussed at the April 2 council meeting. Several raised safety concerns associated with having an entrance to the lot to the north of borough hall, rather than having motorists drive behind borough hall to access the new lot. Others asked that a full traffic study be conducted to determine the safety of a two-way entrance and exit.
Bitman said, however, that professionals had been consulted in designing the project, and that state mandates concerning the proximity of police parking spaces to the police station were a factor in the design.