BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The immediate future of Bridgewater’s Lane-Brokaw House won’t be decided until at least January 2018.
The Bridgewater Township Council tabled a pair of resolutions at its Dec. 18 meeting that would have brought grant money to the township for the historic preservation of the structure on Milltown Road, a home that dates back to the American Revolution.
The issue had been listed for discussion on the council agenda that evening.
Council vice-president Christine Henderson Rose, who has largely spearheaded the effort to save the Lane-Brokaw House, said she appreciated the assistance that had gone on in gathering information other council members had requested earlier in December. More information, however, was required for the council to make a final decision.
“There are some questions that need to be answered,” said Rose, who did not give any financial figures at that time.
She then asked that the two resolutions on the agenda regarding grants for the Lane-Brokaw House be tabled, which the council approved unanimously.
The first resolution would have authorized the township to execute an agreement with the Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders to accept the 2016 Historic Preservation Grant of $85,660 for the Lane-Brokaw House. The second resolution, which was listed as necessary if the first resolution was approved, would have provided for the insertion of a special item of revenue in the 2017 municipal budget, pursuant to NJSA regulations, regarding a historic preservation grant for the $85,660 worth of improvements to the historic home.
Rose said at the council’s Nov. 30 meeting that a total of $171,321 in funding for the Lane-Brokaw House had been requested, which would have included a grant from Somerset County valued at $75,000. The county, however, also wanted a 50 percent cash maximum contribution from Bridgewater Township, which ultimately ground the proceedings to a halt.
Rose also that the township had originally submitted an application to the county for the stabilization of the home in May 2016, and that that application had later been pulled from the council’s agenda in September because accepting the county grant would have forced Bridgewater to assume cost overruns beyond what the grant covered.
Township administrator James Naples noted that the township did not possess the necessary expertise or staff regarding historical structures. Rose said the foundation of the home has been deteriorating, and that a special architect has studied the situation.
Rose also said there is no point in doing mold remediation without fixing the house’s roof, or repairing the roof without shoring up the home’s foundation.
Councilman Felipe Pedroso voiced concerns about what the project would ultimately cost, while Councilman Howard Norgalis added that a structural engineer’s input was also required.
The Lane-Brokaw House situation is expected to be discussed at a later January meeting.