Stafford Plans On Two New Community Centers

The old town hall and school district building will be demolished once a new community center is constructed in the parking lot behind it.
The old town hall and school district building will be demolished once a new community center is constructed in the parking lot behind it.

Stafford Township will be getting not one, but two new community centers according to plans unveiled at the Township Council meeting Tuesday night.
Designs for a 5000 square foot building on Bay Avenue and a 1600 square foot facility in Mill Creek Park were outlined by Township Architect Vincent Sibona and Township Engineer John Hess at the council meeting.  
The total estimated cost for the construction of both facilities is $2.3M, with some if not all of it being covered by the township’s anticipated settlements with their insurance company and FEMA, said Administrator James Moran. In addition, actor Alec Baldwin donated $250,000 to the project shortly after Superstorm Sandy last year, said Moran.
The next step will be to pass a bonding ordinance giving the township the funds to start the bidding process, Moran added.
“I am hoping we will see some better numbers on the overall cost once we go out to bid some time in April,” he said.
Both buildings will be made with pre-built steel construction that will then be given exterior “facelifts,” said Sibona   

The first new building will be a 5000 square foot, multi-purpose building located at the site of the old town hall at 775 East Bay Ave., said the architect.

The second is to be constructed in Mill Creek Park, the site of the old community center destroyed by Superstorm Sandy, will be a 1600 square foot building with a open air pavilion, he added.
The East Bay building will feature a large meeting room that can accommodate 300 people and could be partitioned off to host multiple events. It also will have a full kitchen, accessible rest rooms, meeting rooms, office space and storage areas for the various community groups who will be using the building, he added.
The design also took into consideration the possible need to use the space for emergency services, a disaster distribution center and as an evacuation shelter should that become necessary, said Sibona.
The current building will remain in operation and the new center will constructed behind it in what is now the parking lot.  Once completed the old building will be demolished, said Sibona.
The pavilion in Mill Creek Park will feature meeting space, a kitchenette, storage and an attached open air pavilion covered by a column supported roof.

Hess said this building will be built to the required flood elevation and have access ramps as required.
The township will have soil borings done to determine the proper type of foundation to support the structure, he added. In addition, the ground will be built up on the building site and then tapered down around the sides, said Hess.
Mayor John Spodofora said having both facilities is the best way to serve the needs of the entire community. “The Bay Avenue facility is more centrally located and hopefully will attract more people to our downtown business district,” he said.
The township is applying for a state Downtown Development grant to also help offset the cost, said Spodofora. Councilman Henry Mancini is looking into and applying for additional grants, he added.

The Mill Creek building’s pavilion will offer a place for people to enjoy the park and also provide public bathrooms for those using the bocce, tennis and basketball courts something the park never had before, he added.  

In a response to a question from the audience, Sibona and Hess said the facilities are looking to be as “green” and energy efficient as possible.
The township will receive funds for the state Board of Public Utilities for a ground source water heating system, will have LED lighting throughout and should the funds become available both building could be fitted with solar panels, according the them.

Later in the meeting Sibona’s company was awarded by resolution the contract to provide architectural services for the building projects
If all goes well, Moran said both building could be operational by the end of this year. “The good news is they will be ready for the summer of 2015.”


LT February 19, 2014 at 04:30 PM
Okay, assuming I'm stupid enough to buy their "it will be paid for by FEMA and insurance - why are we "bonding" it? Isn't that code for "borrowing"? Get a grip - do we NEED 3 community centers in Stafford? Bay Ave, MCR AND the Ocean Acres fiasco? Come on!
Mac February 19, 2014 at 04:44 PM
wow, Stafford is getting two new Hurricane Sandy Army/Navy stores at the same time - eat your heart out Seaside Heights - our stores come with their own war medals so we get veterans benefits also
Lincoln Osiris February 20, 2014 at 08:33 AM
so lets get this straight... According to the administrator all of the money for this project may or may not be coming from insurance, and according to the mayor the bay avenue center will bring business into the downtown area and the town will get a grant from the state. Questions: if all of the money is coming from insurance why is there any need to pursue grants? there is already a community center on bay avenue that is being used right now so exactly how will a 2 million $ one lure more people to downtown? Why is this being bonded for if the bidding process hasnt even started yet? Why are they bonding for anything if insurance will cover the costs? How will insurance cover the cost of rebuilding the bay ave center when it wasnt even damaged? ##### What is so wrong with obtaining all the insurance money, establishing that as your budget, see what you can build with that budget, bond zero dollars, and move forward with the project. This is just one more example of the fiscal incompetence of this administration and their lack of respect for the taxpayers of Manahawkin. www.johnspodofora.com
mr henry February 20, 2014 at 09:24 AM
Just something they can say they(GOP) have done since they were Elected and Sandy had destroyed all those homes people use to come and vacation in..Give them a chance to pat each other on the back while the houses are being torn down and lots are being sold off a blow out low prices.
Mac February 20, 2014 at 09:29 AM
@LO - this is about Gilmore getting his cut of the bonding fees and keeping the backdoor flow of money coming into the campaign donation racketeering successes - as long as the local taxpayers are there to pick up the costs of these political spoils who really cares if money comes from other taxpayer funds or not - our American Constitution is working quite well for those that care - one gets the same quality of considerations from one's elected officials as the quality of considerations one gives to one's reasoning to vote for that official in the first place, and this is especially true when reelecting that official again and again - in Ocean County, for sure, if it is Republican, it's a public welfare handout


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »