Tell Us: Should Oceanport Spend $2M to Raise Boro Hall?
The 47-year-old building sustained serious damage during Sandy and sits smack in a flood zone.
During the height of Hurricane Sandy, water poured into Oceanport's borough hall, filling the municipal courtroom with about four-and-a-half feet of water. The library at the opposite end of the building took on about two feet of brackish sludge, damaging about 16,000 items in its collection.
And while the borough's administrative staff moved back into the building after three months of work needed to remediate the 47-year-old concrete building, municipal court proceedings remain in Shrewsbury and Oceanport Police are operating out of trailers out back.
Although the building is structurally safe, borough hall now has shifting walls and floors, gutted bathrooms and the concrete slab it was built on has begun to settle, thanks to Sandy.
Officials announced at the Feb. 7 borough council meeting that the estimate for raising the structure, which is situated below advisory base flood elevations, is in excess of $2 million.
The mayor and council discussed the possibility of moving the borough's municipal building using any available state and federal grants. The notion of relocating borough hall is not new. Mayor Michael Mahon said as early as November that it was a viable option for the borough.
"We need to seriously look at relocating," said Councilman Will Johnson at the Feb. 7 meeting, adding that the area will always flood. "The cracks will open up again even worse."