September 24, 2011
Library plan could include expanded municipal complex for West Milford
September 23, 2011
BY ANN GENADER
Although Township of West Milford Officials have not yet officially revealed that the proposed new township library will include changes to the present municipal building indications are this will be in the final plan.
The Township of West Milford Council on Aug. 17 authorized the award of a professional services contract to Fox Architectural Design of Ledgewood for architectural services for the township museum in an amount not to exceed $7,200. The funds are to be provided by the Heritage Trust Fund in accordance with its proposal dated March 19, 2010.
"While the building design is only in conceptual stages, our goal is to provide a true community center and social gathering place at no additional cost to our residents," said Mayor Bettina Bieri in her August monthly newsletter to residents. "Although premature at this time, the Library Board is eager to unveil the proposed design to our residents. We truly look forward to that day and promise to share the renderings as soon as we have a visible plan."
"The Library Board of Trustees firmly believes in long-range planning and fiscal responsibility," said Bieri, who is a trustee. "Therefore, our plans include not only a donation of the existing library facility to the township, but also a joint venture with the township."
"The members of the Library Board of Trustees unanimously support a new library facility provided there is no additional cost to the taxpayers," said Bieri. "Unlike proposals of the past, the new township library will rely solely on existing, state-mandated funding."
"We have already approached the Facilities Assessment Committee (FAC) which was formed in May 2008 for the purpose of proactively addressing the deficiencies within our municipal buildings and their uses," she continued. "We believe the FAC recognizes the value of this expansion project and the many opportunities and benefits it offers our township. We anticipate that this joint venture could further our mutual goals of a centralized, expanded, and ADA-compliant municipal complex, and ADA-compliant municipal complex."
"Obtaining approvals has been a lengthy and slow process," Bieri continued. "As reported to the Township Council and published in local newspapers in March 2010, the Highlands Council unanimously approved the municipal redevelopment project in order to achieve the goal of a new library. In the interim, the Library Board continues to seek New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) approvals while simultaneously meeting with our architect."
Mayor Bieri said a free public library can be an invaluable resource for every member of the community and every age group. She said that despite the state of the economy and a technically-driven society, libraries are busier than ever.
"A well-designed library increases property values and serves as a focal point and community center," said Bieri. "In West Milford, our library is extremely undersized and outdated. While our staff does a tremendous job given the inferior resources, West Milford residents want and deserve so much more. For over a decade, residents have been awaiting a new public library to better meet the needs of the community, but finding an appropriate location remained a long-term obstacle.
The Township of West Milford, on behalf of the West Milford Library Board of Trustees, is under contract to acquire property adjacent to the municipal building from current owner Edna Finn known as lot 13. Bieri noted she found the suitable site adjacent to town hall for the new library.
A resolution approved by the township council on Aug. 17 authorized Mayor Bettina Bieri to sign a Treatment Works Application with respect to a septic alteration.
Ferriero Engineering made application for the construction of a new septic system for use in a public library on the property with a combined wastewater flow of 1,875 gallons per day. Also proposed is a relocation of flows on the same block (7903) for lots 14, 15 and 16. This involves a combined wastewater flow that exceeds 2,000 per day. The NJDEP requires a Treatment Works Permit for all design flows that exceed 2,000 gallons.
"The Library Board of Trustees holds its public meetings at 7:30 p.m. in the West Milford Municipal Building on the second Tuesday of the month," said Mayor Bieri. "We welcome your presence and your input, so please join us or visit wmtl.org for continued updates on the library project."
The FAC has been working since 2008 to find adequate office and meeting space to meet the township’s growing needs. Meeting Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements is also a goal.
Councilman Dan Jurkovic, who serves on the FAC, said the committee has been investigating the possibility of reconstruction of the municipal building as part of a redevelopment project in the municipal complex area.
Possibility of connecting the library and present town hall by a breezeway has been one of the discussion topics. Adding a large meeting room in the library to replace the present limited sized meeting room in the municipal building is a current topic. This would allow conversion of present meeting room space for possible uses of offices or storage.
The library board has savings amounting to $2 or $3 million to use for the new facility.
Posted by tumulty at September 24, 2011 8:28 AM
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