SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – The village is pursuing both the renovation and the sale of Village Hall, but a decision will need to be made early in 2015 about the fate of the historical building.

Village Administrator Barry Lewis Jr. reported to the Board of Trustees at its meeting Monday night that all of the contractors who have been pre-qualified to submit bids for renovating the building completed a walkthrough of the building. Bids are due on Jan. 22, but Lewis noted “that could move a little bit.”

He also said he has had “some queries for additional information” on the request for proposals to repurpose Village Hall. “We will continue to field (those) and provide information,” he said. Proposals are due Jan. 8, and the board will form a committee to review any proposals that come in.

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Lewis also reported on several other development projects:

  • The village has already had “interest from a number of developers” on Irvington Avenue properties that are under review as “in need of rehabilitation.” The designation provides tax incentives for development.
  • The project at Third and Valley streets is still on track for completion in in 2015.
  • Demolition of property on Church Street and South Orange Avenue is awaiting discontinuation of service by Public Service Electric and Gas.
  • A grand opening for the Gateway on South Orange Avenue is in the works.

Trustees heard an update about First Night Maplewood South Orange. First Night President Michael Goldberg thanked the village for its support of First Night. “Everybody’s pulling together to make this happen,” he said. He said admission wrist bands are now on sale for $15, and the price will go up to $20 after Dec. 24. The event will be from 5-10 p.m. on Dec. 31 at Columbia High School.

In other action, the board:

  • Approved introducing an ordinance that would eliminate benefits for part-time employees, in order to bring the village into compliance with reforms made to benefits regulations. It passed 6-0, and a public hearing is planned for January.
  • Heard a report from Trustee Walter Clarke that plans for renovations at the duck pond and skate house are moving forward, as are plans for a pedestrian bridge near the Department of Public Works building.
  • Heard a report from Trustee Mark Rosner about a recommendation that the village, in conjunction with South Orange Village Center Alliance, reinstitute a program that helps business owners make improvements to their building fronts by providing up to $2,500 in financial assistance.
  • Rosner also reported that the village is investigating the feasibility of allowing extended hours for certain businesses. The request stems in part from “Seton Hall students not having a place to go.” Closing times could be extended from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m.