AFFORDABLE SENIOR COMMUNITY IN ABERDEEN MOVES CLOSER TO FRUITION; DEVELOPERS AGREE TO BUILD LARGER REC CENTER FOR ALL OF TOWN’S SENIORS
ABERDEEN, N.J. (10/21/09)—With the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) finally providing direction on the major components of the cleanup process, a prominent new co-developer on board and both developers agreeing to build a larger on-site recreation center to serve all township seniors, plans to construct an affordable senior community on the former South River Metals property in Aberdeen moved closer to fruition. As proposed, the Church Street site will provide up to 198 senior apartments, along with the community-wide senior center and a passive outdoor recreation area.
In an appearance before the Aberdeen Township Council last night, Township Engineer David J. Samuel, managing partner of CME Associates, related that the DEP this week had approved delineation methods for cleaning up contaminants on the site. The methods were outlined in a remediation plan submitted to the state agency in January 2009 by Icon Engineering, CME’s environmental division.
“This is very good news,” Samuel told the Council during the public workshop meeting. He added that work on the environmental cleanup will commence once several other issues raised by the DEP are addressed.
“These are not insurmountable issues,” Samuel continued. “Fortunately, most of the funds for this additional work are available from HDSRF (New Jersey Hazardous Discharge Site Remediation Fund) grants. With the major component of our cleanup approved and these two other issues clearly identified, this provides us the direction to move the project forward. With this information in hand, the developer is now in the position to fast-track the planning process for the site and present its plans to the Aberdeen Planning Board before the end of this year.”
Outlining other key news concerning the site, Samuel reported that the developers had now agreed to include a recreation center for all Aberdeen seniors that would occupy between 5,000 and 7,500 square feet in one of the complex’s two buildings. This compared with previous plans for a facility of approximately 2,000 to 3,000 square feet. “The developer has responded to the Council’s demands to make the facility bigger, with the ultimate size dependent upon what the Township advises should be included in the senior center,” Samuel said. “In the end, this will provide a tremendous benefit for seniors throughout the township.”
Later during the meeting, Mayor David Sobel and Township Manager Joseph Criscuolo said that the Aberdeen Recreation Department will seek recommendations from seniors on what they want included in the new facility through focus group meetings and through the township’s website (www.aberdeennj.org). Key basic elements of the facility, Criscuolo noted, should include an arts & crafts room, a general purpose room, and a game room with pool tables, card tables and, perhaps, electronic gaming systems with senior-appropriate activities like bowling and golf.
The developers have also agreed to construct an ADA-compliant walkway from the site to Route 34, providing the community’s residents with direct access to nearby businesses.
Samuel additionally announced that developer PRC Group of West Long Branch has added Pennrose Properties to the development team. The Philadelphia-based Penrose is nationally recognized as one of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions’ premier developers and managers of mixed-use, mixed-income, and multi-family housing. Criscuolo noted that Pennrose’s projects include two successful affordable communities in Old Bridge—one of which is for seniors.
Addressing questions from Council members on extensive delays from the DEP in approving the environmental cleanup plan, Samuel said: “There is do doubt that the time they took to respond to our submission was excessive. The delays were associated with organizational changes at DEP that impacted many other sites throughout the state. We are hopeful that the approval process will be swifter going forward.”