Barnegat Light held an informal groundbreaking for the soon to be erected pavilion on borough property at Sixth Street and Bayview Avenue.
“We expect the project will be completed by early spring, said borough Councilman Ed Wellington, who is overseeing the project.
The 96-by-28-foot roofed, open-air steel structure will be a gathering place for the popular summer outdoor concerts that the borough has been sponsoring at the bayfront pavilion on Eighth Street, but it will also be available for many other community events.
“The expectation is that the pavilion will be used not only for concerts, but weddings, taxpayer meetings and any other gatherings by groups or individuals,” said Wellington.
Council has budgeted $300,000 for the pavilion project.
Ground was broken for the footings and ramp Oct. 16, with the expectation that the steel structure construction will start Nov. 1.
The architect is Smith & Davis from Barnegat Light and the project is being managed by Stanley Madsen and will employ both subcontractors and borough employees.
The borough purchased the former Coast Guard housing property two years ago when it came up for auction by the federal government. A bond ordinance appropriating $3,090,000 was passed. Open space acquisition funds are helping to pay for the land, using the annual dedicated 1-cent municipal tax levy.
“It helps quite a bit. It covers more than the interest, and gradually, with any kind of surplus we use, we’re paying the property off,” Mayor Kirk Larson said when contacted this week. “We’re doing a good job paying the debt down; we’re down to less than $2,500,000 owed on it.”
Larson said it seems the pavilion project will come in close to the $300,000 budgeted. Electrical and landscaping are among remaining factors.
“Right now, we’re just trying to get it up and running for summer so we can have our concerts there,” Larson said, “and I know the taxpayers association is excited to have their meetings there in the summer as opposed to having them indoors.
“They are going to purchase benches to put around the perimeter and, come meeting time, slide them to the middle to make pews out of them. That’s our plan so far.”
Larson recalled that when the borough bid on the property, the reason was to have it for open land rather than have someone else buy it and build “something that we didn’t desire and that we would have no control over.”
He said, “I don’t think there was but a handful of people that doubted that we should buy it.”
– Reposted from The Sandpaper