UNION BEACH –The borough has embarked on a long-anticipated $3.5 million project to modernize its municipal hall with additional office space, security upgrades for its municipal court, and a roof replacement.
The improvements to the one-story complex at 650 Poole Avenue, and Stone Road, on the border with Hazlet, will be done in two phases. First, new office spaces will be constructed for the borough workers. This is currently in progress, with completion expected by the fall. After the workers shift over to the new offices, the rest of the building will be renovated.
“The major reason for the addition and renovation is we needed more space, and also security reasons,” said Borough Administrator Robert M. Howard Jr. “This building was opened in 1981. Security requirements have changed. It was inadequate for the court, mainly, and our employees also. The addition and the renovations will resolve those issues.”
The construction project was supposed to kick off in April. “We had some problems with the original contractor and he had to be terminated. So the process of transitioning to a new one has delayed the completion date.” A sign posted outside the worksite identifies the former general contractor as Brunswick Builders, LLC.
Howard said the whole project could be done by the end of 2019.
Property next door to borough hall at 634 Poole Ave. was acquired by the borough and will be used in the expansion.
In addition to new office spaces for workers, there will be an additional 4-500 square feet for the police department, as well as a new judge’s chamber and a secure hallway, and 20 more parking spaces.
The Union Beach Construction Office, which quickly outgrew borough hall following Superstorm Sandy with the addition of several full-time workers, will be brought back to the municipal complex. It has been operating out of the Adult School building at 1205 Florence Avenue.
Howard said the borough council had debated this upgrade for some time. “We talked about it for 10-15 years, at least,” he said. Union Beach is paying for the borough hall renovations mostly through bonding, said Howard. An option to build a second floor with an elevator, was considered but rejected. “This option provided what we needed for a little less expense,” he said.