Secaucus’s plan to construct a new Senior Center at the site of the old on Centre Avenue is moving along.
The decision to construct a new senior center came after the town realized that oil tanks underneath the old center had been leaking for a number of years. Environmental remediation work needed to be done at the three buildings that composed the old center, but because some of the contamination leached under the foundation, it was cheaper to start from scratch then to remediate the existing center.
The old center was demolished before contaminated soil that was formerly beneath the building was removed. Now that is complete, plans are in the works for the new center.
While the new building will primarily serve as a senior center during the day time, for the rest of the day and evening the facility will serve as a community center for residents to hold events and meetings. When the new senior center opens, it will be larger and more accessible to the handicapped.
The project has been in the design phase since February of this year. Following that, the town hired an architect for the project in late May. The town is now awaiting the completion of the design of the building, which is now wrapping up.
In the meantime, Rep. Bill Pascrell, a Democrat who represents Secaucus as part of the 9th Congressional District of New Jersey in the U.S. House of Representatives, secured $950,000 for the project back in July. The funds will apply to any needs by the town related to the construction of the senior center.
In addition to these funds, town bonds, reserves, grants, and other money will help cover the cost of the project. Mayor Michael Gonnelli and the Town Council bonded approximately $7.8 million to go toward the project in August of 2021.
In August of 2022, the council again bonded millions for the project. Construction has not yet begun, but cost overruns meant an additional approximately $1.5 million for the project.
As of late December, Town Administrator Gary Jeffas told the Hudson Reporter that Mayor Michael Gonnelli and the Town Council may be ready to send out bids for the project sooner than previously anticipated.
“It’s in design, but we’re about to have it ready to go out to bid,” Jeffas said. “The architects are working through a couple of last changes and clarifications. I’m hoping the beginning of January, within the first week or so, we’ll be putting it out to bid.”
According to Jeffas, the architectural design of the center will be completed before the project is put out to bid. He said the town is aiming to go out to bid in search of a contractor to construct the new Senior Center as soon as January begins.
“The architectural work is pretty much done, so that the person who is bidding knows exactly what they’re bidding on by way of finishing the electrical and the works,” Jeffas said.
In terms of a price tag, Jeffas said they won’t know the real cost until the bids come in and a contract is awarded. He said that so far, the town has estimated a price tag of approximately $8 to $9 million, but that may fluctuate depending on the contract.
“The bids are going to be the true telling sign of the cost of the project,” Jeffas said.
While the new senior center at 101 Centre Avenue is in the works, the community center at 145 Front Street serves as an interim Senior Center. In the town’s December newsletter, Gonnelli said that construction would likely begin in Spring of 2023.
“The design of our brand-new Senior and Community Center project is well underway and making good progress,” Gonnelli said. “We are hopeful construction will begin in the Spring of 2023. I cannot wait for senior activities to be hosted there as soon as it is complete.”
For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at email@example.com.