Ship Bottom Revisits New Municipal Complex Plans for Viability

Apr 11, 2018
Photo by: Ryan Morrill

Ship Bottom officials are dusting off plans for a new municipal complex in an effort to determine whether the pre-Superstorm Sandy design is still a feasible option at the current location, between 16th and 17th streets, facing Long Beach Boulevard.

“The building project never went away,” Mayor William Huelsenbeck said earlier this month.

The plans, as designed prior to October 2012, call for building a new municipal complex at the back of the existing location, so it would be closer to Central Avenue than the Boulevard, with parking in front of the structure, he said. That part of the plan is likely to change, the mayor said.

Amended plans could see a new municipal complex built in front of the existing structure, he said. If that happens, the existing structure would remain in use until the new building is completed, saving taxpayers money because the borough wouldn’t use trailers, according to Huelsenbeck. Parking would then be located in the back of the complex off Central Avenue between 16th and 17th streets.

“We have to look at the plans, update them based on what’s changed since Sandy,” he said, noting the original plans called for the U.S. post office, which is currently housed in the adjoining structure to the municipal building, to be included in any new complex. “It’s a good service and we’re looking to keep it.”

The current municipal building, which also houses the police department, has an expiration date, according to the mayor.

“The roof structure can’t be repaired anymore,” Huelsenbeck said, explaining the corrugated metal structure of the roof isn’t strong enough to bear more repairs and the building itself couldn’t withstand a new roof.

At one point, borough officials considered moving the police department to the vacant CVS, located on the Boulevard, near the entrance to the Island. The cost, according to the mayor, was prohibitive.

As for the current revisiting of a new municipal complex, Huelsenbeck stressed officials want to ensure the plans are still viable and any updates that must be made are reflected so the project can move forward at the right time.

“I don’t know that it’s going to happen right away, but it has to happen,” he said, noting the cost for reviving the project is minimal at this juncture. “We’ll see what happens, then decide and get our ducks in line with financing. We’re very aware it isn’t our money to spend.”

The town’s original municipal building was located on Ninth Street, between Barnegat and Central avenues, where Country Corner Market is currently housed, Huelsenbeck said. Sometime in the mid-20th century, the municipal complex was moved to its current location fronting Long Beach Boulevard.

— Gina G. Scala

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