Initially, the public was told we could purchase the Stanford Drive property for $2.4 million. When finalized, the cost for the 17 acres became $13 Million.
Last year the Town Council authorized a $10 million bond issue which included $8.6 million for a 37,930 sq. ft. recreation center on Stanford Drive. This building was priced at $225 per square foot in 2007. But a September 2006 memorandum to the town council used $300 per square foot to price out a fire house addition for the rescue squad. At that rate the building will come to $11.7 million.
Over the last year the cost of construction materials have gone through the roof (literally). There still are no building plans to see what the actual costs will be today.
At the Oct 7th council meeting, I was told by the Bruno/Perna/Cohen trio that if the costs go above $8.6 million, they will downsize the project. Either the senior citizens or the teenagers will not get the building they wanted. Whose part will be downsized? Will the residents be given a chance to vote on the new plan?
We still need a new library, police station, and town hall.
With the cost of everything in people's lives going up, it is hard to imagine the Berkeley Heights portion of your tax bill going up $250-$500 per household. I can guarantee everyone that the school and county portions are not going to stay flat!
I would love to see a community and senior center in town, but most of us cannot afford this gigantic building, especially at this time. A no vote on this referendum tells the Council to formulate a more realistic plan.
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