9 November, 1988 (~estimated)
Firehouse Agreement Approved By Committee Township
Committee has unanimously approved the proposed land swap which will allow the new firehouse to be built in the parking lot adjacent to the Valley Road building. The agreement was expected to be endorsed by the Board of Education, which owns the building, at its meeting Tuesday night as TOWN TOPICS went to press.
Under the terms of the agreement, the Board of Education will deed to the Township “that portion of the Valley Road [building] parking lot needed for a new firehouse” and the Township will deed to the Board of Education land adjacent to the Johnson Park School for future school district. In addition, the Township will enter into a 25-year lease with the Board for space in the Valley Road building — space the Township currently leases short term.
The Township will be responsible for capital repairs and utilities for the Township-occupied leased portion of the building. However, before committing to any significant capital expenditures for repairs to the Valley Road building, the Township and the Board will jointly conduct a study of the building and the site. That study will be uncle, taken within 18 months at a cost not to exceed $100,000 and to be shared equally.
The agreement goes on to say that within 24 months, the Township and the Board of Education will decide whether all or part of the building should be replaced, undergo major renovations, or be maintained under the terms of the 25-year lease. It also says that additional compensation, if any, to the school board can be in the form of capital repairs performed by the Township.
A mutually agreed-upon third party will make an assessment of the building to determine what net compensation, if any, the School District could expect for the space. That determination will be based on the assumption that “reasonable and necessary” capital expenditures will be made over the life of the proposed lease.
Another aspect of the agreement is the restructuring of the Community Park parking lot to yield more parking spaces and to improve the traffic circulation pattern.
All In Agreement. There were no objections to the proposed agreement from the audience, which included School Board and Fire Department officials. Leonard Godfrey, Township Committeeman-elect, suggested that the language on just what “portion” of the Valley Road budding parking lot will be deeded should be more specific. Mayor Kate Litvack responded that it was understood by the Fire Department, the School Board and the Township that a three-bay firehouse for four pieces of equipment is what will be built.
Mayor Litvack also assured former Committeeman Bill Cherry that no condemnation of abutting property is planner and won’t be necessary. Step further added that the fire house, with a small parking area for firemen and a driveway entrance to the courtyard behind — where additional parking is proposed for occupants and visitors to the Valley Road building — will fit on the present parking lot.
During the winter months, parking overflow can be accommodated in the Community Park parking lot across the street. During the summer months, school buses present-ly kept in the courtyard will be temporarily relocated to the Township-owed Tiger Garage on John Street to free up all the spaces in the courtyard for municipal employees and visitors.
Mayor Litvack thanked the firemen for their patience during the long negotiations thus far. Corinne Kyle of the Board of Education praised Mayor Litvack for being “a positive catalyst” in the process, which she described as a “model of intergovernmental cooperation.”