Playgrounds, road improvements OK’d

Staff Writer

Playgrounds, road
improvements OK’d
Staff Writer

LAKEWOOD — The Township Committee adopted a $3.6 million bond ordinance on Aug. 5 to fund playground equipment and road improvements.

Under the ordinance, the township will make a down payment of $170,668 and finance $3,413,280 through the issuance of bonds, for a total capital improvement package of $3,583,948.

The total cost of playground improvements is estimated to be $2,630,840. The average life of the equipment is expected to be 15 years, officials said.

The bond will also pay for various road improvements. Paving and the construction and reconstruction of sidewalks and curbs will cost $288,750.

Committee members Meir Lichtenstein, Robert Singer, Menashe Miller and Charles Cunliffe voted to adopt the ordinance. Mayor Raymond Coles was absent.

"I’m in favor of this," said David Drukaroff, the only resident to comment on the ordinance.

An ambulance and defibrillators used by emergency medical technicians also will be replaced under the bond ordinance. Total cost of the replacements is estimated at $150,150.

The township also will finance an upgraded Dictaphone recording system for the police department. The total cost of the Dictaphone system is estimated at $23,100, and it is expected to last about 10 years, officials said.

The bonding ordinance also will fund the purchase of equipment and furniture for municipal offices. The purchases will include computer hardware and software upgrades, main auditorium sound system replacement, a telephone system upgrade, microfilm tax as­sessor files, carpeting replacement for the code enforcement/zoning offices, computer software up­grades for the code enforce­ment/zoning offices, electronic storage documents and files for the code enforcement/zoning offices and a Lektriever filing system for the municipal court.

The total cost of the equipment and furniture is estimated at $491,108 and includes all labor and materials.

In other business, a request by executives representing Clayton Concrete Block and Sand for a tax abatement was tabled until Aug. 19 after Township Attorney Steven Secare said that Coles, who was on vacation, had said he wanted to be present for the vote. Only Cunliffe opposed tabling the matter.

The company, which is on the boundary of Jackson and Lakewood, is relocating to a site on Prospect and James streets in Lakewood’s Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ), behind Woodhaven Lumber.

William Richard Clayton said 10 new positions would be created, while 16 current jobs would be maintained. He was unable to say how many of the new positions would be filled by Lakewood resi­dents.

Singer cited Clayton’s philan­thropic contributions to the town­ship. He also said that with $30 million to $40 million in sales an­nually, the business would con­tribute more than $1 million in taxes to the township.

However, Lichtenstein said jobs were key in granting a request for a tax abatement.

The committee unanimously passed a resolution granting a $20,000 micro loan to Magnatronics Inc., a start-up technological com­pany that would locate in the UEZ.

During the meeting’s public fo­rum, traffic concerns were raised. Bernard Williams requested that a traffic light be installed at the in­tersection of 4th Street and Park Avenue.

Lichtenstein said a lot of work had been done to make the inter­section safer.

However, Cunliffe said the county would be contacted to re­quest that a signal be installed.

William Hobday, a resident of The Fairways adult community, said traffic was backing up along Massachusetts Avenue, where the adult development is located.

Last year, the state installed a left turn lane on Massachusetts Avenue at the intersection of Route 70, which it also widened. Hobday said the backup was due to the short length of the turn lane, which accommodates only three cars, and time allotted cars to make their turn onto Route 70 north. He also said the county’s closing of Whitesville Road to lay gas and utility lines this summer has exac­erbated the problem further.

"We’re a town with a robust growth and we’ve got to do some­thing about these old roads," Hobday said.

He said if Route 70 were widened in Dover and Manchester to include two lanes in either di­rection instead of one, the problem could be alleviated.

Cunliffe asked if Lakewood’s engineers could reach out to the state Department of Transportation.

Singer indicated that could be done.

Another resident asked if a light would be installed at County Line and Somerset roads.

Lichtenstein said he believed the light would be installed east of the railroad tracks.