MILLBURN, NJ - Local officials are preparing to purchase a medical building east of the municipal court on Essex Street for eventual public use.
The Millburn Township Committee introduced an ordinance last night authorizing the purchase from the Coppola Family Partnership and setting aside $740,000 to pay for the property.
Committee member Robert Tillotson explained the property is especially important to the township because a driveway at the rear provides access for emergency vehicles from the police and fire departments to Short Hills Road.
A public hearing on the proposed ordinance will take place Tuesday, June 5.
Resident Janet Piszar asked if officials intend to demolish the building. Tillotson replied assuming the purchase takes place, the township will honor a lease with the current tenant through 2014. The township is also deciding whether it will merge its municipal court with Livingston, in which case that space would become available for other uses.
Tillotson said officials are still formulating redevelopment plans for the area around the building, which includes a large property at the corner of Essex and Spring streets where a building has been razed. In the short term, that property is to be used for parking while a parking deck is being constructed on Lot 2 at the corner of Essex Street and Lackawanna Place.
“It’s a work in progress, as it were,” he said.
In other business, Mayor Sandra Haimoff reported that township officials continue to press for measures that will reduce potential flooding along the Rahway River. The efforts were spurred by the flooding that occurred in the South Mountain area of the township in the wake of Hurricane Irene last summer.
On May 24, the Army Corps of Engineers will meet with representatives of towns along the river to present their conceptual plans for the West Branch of the Rahway River which flows through the South Mountain Reservation, according to Haimoff. The Essex County executive has agreed to come to that session.
“Hopefully, he’ll help us,” the mayor said.
In summing up the township’s efforts, which includes a field trip along the river last week with representatives of the state’s Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Transportation, Haimoff said, “We’re trying to move along as quickly as we can.”
Haimoff also reported on dealings with JCP&L, which provides electrical service to the township. Many residents experienced extended power outages during two major storms last year.
JCP&L officials have promised to improve their emergency response, and to that end, they are working on a new Web page where residents can report outages, she said.