Council to consider contracts to renovate City Hall and the Public Safety Building

first_imgOnce a construction contract is awarded by the city, it will take about six months to finish the project. Construction would start next February and be completed by July, according to a tentative timetable. By Donald WittkowskiTwo of Ocean City’s most historic public buildings will be the focus of key votes by City Council to refurbish one of them and possibly save and renovate the other. The city will consider other locations for a new Public Safety Building as well as studying the possibility of renovating and expanding the existing site, Bergen said. However, City Council is scheduled Thursday to award a $29,500 contract to Czar Engineering of Egg Harbor Township to study the possibility of expanding and renovating the existing building on Central Avenue between Eighth and Ninth streets. Under a $45,500 contract, Michael Calafati Architect LLC of Cape May will prepare designs for the restoration of City Hall’s masonry exterior and “character-defining features.” The stately City Hall, built in 1914 and an example of Classical Revival architecture, is in store for a facelift that will preserve the building’s brick and terra cotta exterior. “Though best known as a beach resort, the city boasts a City Hall that exudes the sophistication and grandeur of public buildings erected during the City Beautiful movement of the early twentieth century,” Calafati wrote. The city’s Public Safety Building, meanwhile, a more utilitarian structure that is 125 years old, may be renovated and expanded after initial plans to replace it with a new facility. City Council, at its meeting Thursday, is scheduled to hire an architect to design the City Hall project and is also expected to award an engineering contract to study the possibility of modernizing the Public Safety Building. Potential renovations to the existing site include converting the ground floor into storage or parking space, creating new main entryways into the building and making exterior renovations, according to a June 24 memo from Czar Engineering to City Business Administrator Jim Mallon.The Ocean City Public Safety Building on the 800 block of Central Avenue. The Public Safety Building, a former school, houses the police department and municipal court. A temporary roadway is being built off Roosevelt Boulevard to serve a dredging disposal area, known as Site 83, that will speed up the removal of the mud and silt. Calafati, in a June 13 memo to Matthew von der Hayden, the city’s manager of capital planning, detailed the building’s historic and architectural significance, calling it an iconic landmark not only for Ocean City, but also for the entire Jersey Shore.center_img The work is being characterized as “sensitive preservation.” It will include patching up the terra cotta and Roman brick exterior and refurbishing the building’s decorative attachments and metal. He noted that the building was designed by Vivian Smith, a leading architect for a number of southern New Jersey coastal communities. It is listed on both the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places. Also Thursday, Council is expected to award a nearly $200,000 contract to ACT Engineers of Robbinsville to develop long-range plans for the city’s dredging program. But the roadway has been sinking at the south end, delaying the project for three weeks. ACT will perform a geotechnical and engineering investigation to determine the cause of what is described by the city as “significant settlement issues.” Bergen said the building’s fate is not clear, noting that “no decisions have been made.” Gillian’s five-year, $98.5 million city capital plan includes $1 million for design and engineering costs in 2016 and $9 million for construction of a new Public Safety Building in 2017. The mayor has proposed a $20 million dredging program to clear out the shallow lagoons and channels across the island. ACT, which has been serving as the city’s dredging consultant, will also oversee dredging plans for Snug Harbor and Glenn Cove, two of the locations along the back bays clogged with mud and silt. City spokesman Doug Bergen said the building’s restoration work is expected to cost $400,000. Cape May County would fund half of the project with a $200,000 grant and the city would pay the rest, he said. Plans for the antiquated Public Safety Building, though, are less certain. The building may be saved despite Mayor Jay Gillian’s calls for it to be replaced with a new facility across the street on land now used for parking behind City Hall. “I guess the marsh was softer than they thought, so it will take a little extra time,” Bergen said of the delay in completing the roadway.last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *