Phil Blackwood (left) speaks to architect Pradeep Kapoor during the first of two meetings on Wednesday. Below is the floor plan of the senior citizen center. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)
BY JOHN T. WARD
Repair plans for Red Bank’s long-closed senior citizen center could receive some final adjustments after two public comment sessions on Wednesday.
The suggestions ranged from small (adding a door buzzer) to large (digging a basement).
Kapoor, right, and Fernando Robledo during the first meeting. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)
The afternoon and evening sessions, held in person in the City Hall Council Chamber and streamed via Zoom and Facebook, focused on brief presentations of architectural plans followed by public questions and comments.
The one-story senior citizen center on Shrewsbury Avenue has been closed since a fire extinguishing system leak in January 2019. Since pandemic restrictions on social gatherings were eased in May, seniors have been gathering in rented rooms at Trinity Episcopal Church on White Street.
Pradeep Kapoor, a partner at DMR Architects, outlined repair and upgrade plans that he estimated would cost $ 1.8 million.
This includes replacing the existing windows and sidings, which, according to DMR project manager Fernando Robledo, are energy inefficient; Relocation of heating and cooling systems from the attic; and overhaul of toilets and doors to comply with amendments to the Americans With Disabilities Act.
The plan also foresees an option: the installation of movable partitions that would transform a large meeting room into two or three smaller rooms. The dividers make up an estimated $ 80,000 of the expected cost, Kapoor said.
The plans don’t include any changes to the parking lot or terrace overlooking the Swimming River, Robledo said.
Residents made suggestions amid complaints that the meetings should have been held earlier and that the display of materials was difficult to see on the room’s single TV screen.
Phil Blackwood of Chestnut Street advocated reduced CO2 emissions and suggested replacing the gas-powered heating system with electric heat pumps.
Former Wallace Street councilor Cindy Burnham said a non-working gas fireplace in the main meeting room should be fixed, not removed.
Among the other recommendations: a security buzzer on the front door; Ceiling fans; a cathedral ceiling.
Shrewsbury Avenue architect Jerome Morley Larson derided the presentation as “useless” and called for the addition of a basement and “much larger deck” outdoors.
Tiffaney Harris, a leader of the Fix It Now initiative for the senior citizen center, said: red bank green afterwards she was “very satisfied” with the suggestions.
Acting business administrator and police chief Darren McConnell told the audience at both meetings that the plans are “ready to bid,” but are subject to a revision by the council, based in part on input from residents at the meetings.
Once the plan is finalized, Kapoor said he recommended giving contractors a month to submit bids. The council would then award and finalize the contract, which it thought could take another month or two.
Construction is expected to take another five months, he said.
If you’re reporting from. estimate red bank green, become a sponsor for just $ 1 a month. Click here to set your own monthly or annual contribution.