By Liza Viana, Berkeley Heights Township Administrator
It’s been awhile since I’ve given a municipal complex update. I’ll have to admit, once we moved into the new building in December, we all breathed a huge sigh of relief yet there was also a feeling of having to quickly to pivot no longer focus on “the big move,” but to then focus on finishing up the many remaining construction tasks in the new building, and starting on what we call “Phase 2,” which refers to the demolition of the old municipal buildings, grading and paving of the new parking lot. The pace has not slowed down, it’s just different.
Currently, the developer is facing difficulty getting asbestos-laden stucco off of the exterior of the building; buildings built decades ago when asbestos was prevalent in construction need to be demolished very carefully. Remediation is monitored by environmental experts, and methods are often dictated by the state of New Jersey and even the federal Environmental Protection Agency. Meanwhile, site crews are using dirt to build up the elevation of the old Town Hall site to bring it closer to level with the elevation of the new building, before the lot can be further graded and paved. Exterior punch list items are being finished up.
While COVID has put a damper on us being able to open to the public en masse, we have been conducting business with our residents via phone, email, and in-person appointments as needed. Our library is also open for curbside pickup. We still do not have a certificate of occupancy for the new building, as we are waiting for the state elevator inspector to come and give our elevator a passing grade. We are also waiting for the proper installation of a pedestal outside the front doors that would provide for ADA (Americans With Disabilities Access) access through the automatic doors. We are hoping those issues are resolved in the next few weeks so that we can begin opening more for our residents, yet still on a limited basis to keep both our employees and our residents safe.
Our staff is busy putting plans for reopening into place. Meanwhile, I would like to report that we will “officially” be opening for business by appointment only beginning Monday, May 10! All in-person Township business will be conducted in the main room off the lobby to your left as you walk into the building.
What does this mean?
Read article in its entirety and watch video in TAPinto Berkeley Heights here.
(Please note that the library is still only open for curbside pickup.)