Letters to the Editor

Letter to the Editor: Lower Cost Land Swap


Dear Editor:

There has yet been no response to my original question of 9/15/14 regarding staging or incrementing the infra-structure changes under discussion, although the Mayor replied they were considering such.

In any case, my management plan is stated briefly below using the information provided on the CD’s provided by the Township. I believe we can reduce the total cost from the $25 million dollar level indicated for Option 1 or 2 to about $10 million over a staged 4-year period and this would obviously reduce the tax impact by about 50% or more.

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The steps for such a modified land swap vs the full Option 2 are:

Step 1- do the swap                                                     $2.8 million
Step 2- move the Police Station to the rectory                $1.7 million
Step 3- convert LF auditorium to a meeting room-
             community center                                            $0.3 million
Step 4- rearranges offices in the existing Town Hall
             to use freed-up space from steps 2 & 3 of
             about 10,000 sq. ft.and creates 35 add-
             itional commuter parking spaces                        $0.2 million
Step 5- rent the existing library from LF and cross
             rent some school area for CCD to LF.                __________
                                                                           Total    $5 million

So for the immediate or 2-year period the cost is about $5 million.

In the third and fourth year we can move the library to the second floor of the LF and complete a modern library and enhanced Community Center for an additional maximum of $5 million which includes some of the soft costs.  Thus a total cost over 4 years of about $10 million results.

This “low cost swap”  strategy allows Berkeley Heights to take the opportunity offered by the Little Flower Church’s suggestion if we optimize much of the land -- not maximize all of it at this time.  The result is significant value to the Township for two major needs (police station and library/community center) and allows us to keep the Town Hall complex after some repairs.

John Bonacci

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor.

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