OLD BRIDGE – The township has secured federal funding for a new mixed-use community building along the Laurence Harbor waterfront.
Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-6) announced he had secured $2.25 million for Old Bridge in the Transportation, Housing, and Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee spending bill. urban development for fiscal year 2023 in a July 14 statement.
The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the underlying legislation in the coming months, he said.
“I am pleased to have been able to secure funding for Old Bridge to construct a new building for residents to use for recreation and community activities,” said Pallone. “This new shared space will help keep our friends and neighbors active and bring the community together. I look forward to seeing this project progress through the legislative process.
Mayor Owen Henry said, “During difficult economic times, it is important to recognize the need to increase and encourage recreational opportunities for working families.
“This is the first step toward revitalizing the Old Bridge waterfront, which will not only spur economic growth, but also create an attractive destination in the township,” he said. “The Township is currently working to designate the Laurence Harbor area as an area in need of redevelopment, which will lead to opportunities for reinvestment and redevelopment.”
In April, Henry joined Township Engineer Nicole Shapiro in presenting plans for the community center at a township council meeting.
EI Associates, Cedar Knolls, Hannover, has received the Request for Proposals (RFP) to prepare a conceptual design.
A small, formed steering committee pushed the consultants to take advantage of the waterfront views and use the space, Shapiro said.
The proposed plans include the demolition of the existing building and the construction of a two-story 4,500 square foot building with a total area of 9,000 square feet, a 1,319 square foot terrace on the second floor and a an outdoor square and an amphitheater on the ground floor. – as seats.
The proposed building will receive LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification; plan for existing and additional programming due to larger space; become a revenue-generating event space; and serve as an emergency shelter during extreme weather conditions and a warming/cooling center when needed.
Outdoor bathrooms for men and women are available to bathers.
The current community center, which Shapiro described as “oddly shaped…almost like two octagons put together,” was built in the late 1970s.
The current building is used quite often for summer camps, half-day programs, adult fitness, cooking classes as well as local civic groups and sports meetings.
The building is also used as a staging area when there are events on the waterfront for emergency medical services, first aid and police.