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Hopewell Borough Council moves ahead to secure state funding for repairs at train station

A bond ordinance to provide funds for restoration and renovation of the Hopewell Borough Train was recently introduced by Hopewell Borough Council.

The measure is part of Hopewell Borough official’s efforts to receive $250,000 in state grant funding, which the borough almost received in 2019, according to officials.

The ordinance was introduced during the council’s meeting on March 5.

“This is part two in of our major steps in getting needed capital repair for the train station done. In the fall we had applied for a significant grant from the state Historic Trust. We came close, but ultimately did not receive the grant,” Councilman Ryan Kennedy said. “This bond ordinance is for our local match for the grant. Hopefully this will be matched by another $250,000 by the state funds.”

The Historic Trust was created by law in 1967 to preserve New Jersey’s historic resources across the state, according to state officials.

Kennedy explained  that the bond ordinance is to help make the application more attractive, but that the borough will make some of the repairs.

“It does not necessarily mean we will allocate the money if we do not get the grant. Our hope is that those state fund come through, so we can move forward on some of the major repairs for the building,” he said. “Earlier in the year we did try to adjust the user fees for the train station to help our operating cost be closer to being self-sufficient. Those funds were basically for utilities, basic upkeep and cleaning and would not provide the funds for major repairs.”

Council President C. Schuyler Morehouse, Councilman Chris Fossel, Councilman Ryan Kennedy, Councilwoman Samara McAuliffe, Councilwoman Debra Stuhler and Councilman David Mackie voted “yes” on the motion to move the measure to a public hearing.

As of now, the public hearing is set for April 2.

The bond ordinance, if approved, would appropriate $250,000 for the restoration and renovation, with $237,000 coming from bonds.

Some of the work for the Hopewell Train Station includes roof replacement and repairs, gutters, woodworking, carpentry, painting and brick repainting, according to officials.

“From looking at it you might think it is in great shape, but the brick pointing which is very intricate and the windows will take specialized craftsman. The current thought is that with the grant the repairs for the train station would be $500,000,” Kennedy said. “There would be the local $250,000 match from the borough and the $250,000 from the state.”

The train station on Railroad Place was built in 1876.

“This has been on the agenda for some time. The bond ordinance is a more overt step in providing the funds to help repair the station. This continues the path for the past year of trying to find sources of funding for the project, so it is not just Hopewell Borough taxpayers,” Kennedy said. “The station is iconic for our community. It is place for programs and events and is a wonderful community asset.”

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