Keyport receives grant to examine areas in need of rehabilitation

Edison Arts Society artists will transform Adirondack chairs into a piece of art as part of the society's summer fundraiser. KATHY CHANG/STAFF
Edison Arts Society artists will transform Adirondack chairs into a piece of art as part of the society's summer fundraiser. KATHY CHANG/STAFF

The Borough of Keyport has been awarded a $125,000 grant from the Neighborhood Preservation Program (NPP) to conduct a study of areas in the municipality that are in need of rehabilitation.

“The first step will be an assessment of properties (that abut Route 35 and Route 36) and how they can best be deployed to encourage businesses to locate there,” Business Administrator Stephen Gallo announced during a Borough Council meeting on July 2.

Gallo previously said the NPP “targets threatened, but viable neighborhoods where Department of Community Affairs resources can be leveraged to create momentum.”

“We are considering focusing on properties that abut Route 35 and Route 36, as well as industrial properties that have gone to mothballs on Clark Street … We would like to see a plan to incentivize redevelopment along the (Route 36) corridor that would be related to tourism,” he explained.

In other business, Gallo said municipal officials are planning to apply for a matching grant administered in accordance with the New Jersey Library Construction Bond Act

During the general election in November 2017, voters throughout New Jersey supported a $125 million bond act and authorized funding for libraries to be used for facility improvements. Regulations regarding the distribution of the anticipated state funding are still being developed.

In an interview, Gallo said, “there are some exterior repairs and gutter work (needed at the library). The chimney needs to be reset. The roof needs to be redone. There is some cement work that needs to be reset. We need some HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning) repairs. It’s normal maintenance wear and tear stuff.

“We consider our job to be shovel ready and we can move quickly. As soon as (the state) announces the program we will have an application in. As soon as (the state) announces the awards we will be ready to go,” he said.

Finally, municipal officials awarded a contract to Beacon Planning for the preparation of a redevelopment plan.

“There is a long-standing parcel that had a former industrial company on it. It’s been out of business for quite some time. There are some environmental challenges on the property. A new purchaser is interested in developing the property for residential purposes,” Gallo said.

Gallo said he will meet with the developer and residents to determine the best use for the property. He said a redevelopment plan would be drafted following the meeting.

Borough officials said the property that is the subject of the redevelopment conversation is on Manchester Avenue near Maple Place and is at block 120, lots 8 and 9, and block 130, lots 42, 48, 49, 50, 51 and 52.