MONTVILLE, NJ - Montville will be “one step closer” to emergency preparedness, Town Administrator Victor Canning informed the Montville Township Committee at its meeting on July 22, thanks to a recent $65,000 grant award.
The grant, a federal award administered by the Morris County Division of Planning, will be applied to the estimated $80,000 price tag for improvements at the Senior House on Main Road, in order to make the building a free-standing emergency shelter. The improvements include adding additional bathrooms and installing two showers. The grant is from the Community Development Block Grant program and is funded through the Department of Housing and Urban Development. It is “a flexible program that provides communities with resources to address a wide range of unique community development needs” according to HUD’s website.
Canning stated at the meeting he was originally unsure that Montville would be awarded any funds, but due to census changes the grant came through.
Committee Member Deborah Nielson called the award “a big win for you [Mr. Canning], the Town, and June Hercek [Assistant Township Administrator],” and wanted to know when construction would begin.
“Our hope is to start the bid specs over the next few months,” Canning said, adding that he hopes to be able to send out the bid specs before the end of the year so that construction can begin in the spring, after the weather becomes milder.
In a later interview, Canning said, “We are also adding extra area to the building to provide more space for emergency sheltering. Our thoughts behind this additional space is to be able to have an area for sheltering those with special needs, or disabilities,” as opposed to those merely seeking temporary shelter.
An emergency generator has also been installed at the Senior House in order to make Montville more prepared for storms and other disasters.
With the grant award and the additional improvements, Montville is “one step closer to all the modifications and improvements in our emergency preparedness that we have promised over the last 18 months. We’ve made great strides in these areas,” Canning said.