The Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders was joined by municipal officials for a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday at the Somerset County Joint Public Works Facility on Chimney Rock Road.
“This facility has been a goal of county and municipal officials for many years and we are pleased that it has come to fruition,” said Freeholder Director Patricia Walsh in a press release from the county. “The county has wanted to acquire a North County Public Works Facility since 1988.”
“When the Stavola property was first discussed as a possible site for the North County Facility, the county saw it as an opportunity to develop a regional project,” Walsh added. “Bound Brook had lost its municipal garage to flooding during Hurricane Floyd in 1999, and Bridgewater was also looking to relocate its public works operation.”
According to the release, the county purchased the 14.5-acre property from Stavola Materials in 2003 for $3 million. The contract to build the North County and Bridgewater Public Works facilities was awarded to Niram Inc.
The Joint Department of Public Works Facility, the release said, houses three public works garages, two domes for salt and sand storage and county gas pumps to be ready for towns already involved in that shared service. As part of the county’s Solar Renewable Energy Program, all three buildings will have solar panels on the roof.
Somerset County owns the land and buildings, the release said, and is responsible for maintaining the landscaping and driveways.
“We’re excited about this project because it’s another great example of shared services between the county and its municipalities,” said Freeholder Patrick Scaglione, public works liaison, in the release. “By consolidating our resources in one location—manpower, equipment and facilities—sharing services will be even easier.”
In exchange for its 40,250-square-foot public works garage at the new facility, the release said, Bridgewater offered the county a land swap of 20 acres near TD Bank Ballpark, where the Adult Day Center now resides and a new county senior center complex is planned. The township also signed a 50-year lease with the county.
Somerset County is closing its Peapack-Gladstone and North Plainfield garages, which are located in flood-prone residential areas, and moving its equipment to the North County Public Works Garage. The 39,061-square-foot facility houses a garage, mechanics bay, truck wash and pesticide storage area.
Somerset County has had its Central Maintenance Garage in Finderne since 1984, and opened the South County Public Works Facility in Hillsborough in 1991.