Local/State

Tear down City Hall? Some in NJ say yes

Monday, February 21, 2011

City Hall in Port Republic has been closed since February 7th after fumes from an underground oil tank leak were making workers sick.

Now, officials have to decide how to clean up the contaminated soil underneath and one distinct possibility may be tearing the aging building down.

"It might have to go. We're waiting for official word from our engineer," Mayor Gary Giberson said.

Mayor Giberson says the building was built in 1933 and also has termite damage and structural issues.

"It's like putting perfume on a pig to keep doing this building," Mayor Giberson said.

"We don't need anything big, but if it's a health hazard or something like that then that would be something that would seriously have to be considered," resident Maryellen Mehler said.

If City Hall can't be raised up from the ground for the cleanup and does have to knocked down, replacing it could cost between three quarters and a million dollars.

That would be a burden to a town with just 1,100 residents.

"That's a lot of money. I'm afraid it's going to affect our taxes," resident Ronnie Sue Marienski.

While officials figure out what's going to happen to City Hall, they are temporarily setting up shop in this trailer next door, which is expected to be open by Wednesday.

Since the closure some City Hall employees have been working from home.

"The business has to go on for the town and we support our workers up there. They certainly need a place to work. We don't expect them to work out of home," Glenn Marienski said.

Thursday night at 7 at the school district building there's a meeting planned to go over options and the idea to tear City Hall down, but Skip Cavileer at the General Store is already weighing in with his opinion.

"Now, it's starting to fall apart so let's do it," Cavileer said.

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Tags:
new jersey, atlantic county, city hall, local/state, nora muchanic
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