Raritan GOP Moves forward on New Emergency Services Building
A proposed plan to construct a new emergency services building at the former Washington School site on First Avenue is being revisited by the Raritan Borough Council. The plan would move the police station from its current location at the Raritan Borough Municipal Building to a more centralized location in the Borough. The fire department would also move from their current location on North Thompson Street.
A subcommittee chaired by Republican Councilman Paul Giraldi, and including Mayor Zachary Bray and Council President Nicolas Carra, was formed to explore the feasibility of the proposed project. During a recent meeting, Borough Administrator Eric Colvin, Asst. Administrator Catherine Cook-Vitale, and Auditor Warren Korecky advised the committee that the borough's current financial situation is strong as a result of strategic budgeting by Republican leadership. This, along with a solid financial agreement between the Borough and the developer of the new apartments on First Avenue (referred to as Block 81) will provide adequate funding for the project. Borough Engineer Stan Schreck offered guidance on the architectural plan and needs analysis for the proposed emergency service building. Police Lieutenant Thomas Fisher and Fire Chief Brian Kredatus gave their input to assure the building will meet the needs of their respective departments. Construction and Zoning Official Lou Gara and Tax Assessor Anthony DiRado offered insight as well by helping the committee understand current revenue streams that can finance the project.
Originally a separate project, the new Public Works facility was combined with the emergency services project for financing purposes. Assessor DiRado suggestion to combine the projects helps to fund a down payment with money provided by Somerset County. The new public works building will be in Hillsborough and will provide a modern facility for DPW. The current DPW building is not viable for Public Works' needs and would cost too much to renovate. The land for the new facility, provided to the Borough by Somerset County, will be at no additional cost to the town or taxpayers. This meeting helped to find the vision needed to secure a plan and financing to increase productivity and services for residents, while avoiding tax increases.
"The goal of the meeting was to see if the project was something we still wanted to do and if it was financially feasible if we did," said Councilman Giraldi.
Council President Carra added, "As our community has grown, the needs of our police and fire departments have too. Borough hall has become an inadequate location for our growing police department and our current fire house is not able to supply all the amenities to maintain the safety and wellbeing of our volunteers."