In a special meeting called by the Borough Council, that was held May 2, 2012, a resolution was passed to rescind the contract with the South Amboy Elks Lodge and National Elks Organization on the purchase of the property on Main Street. The Mayor called for a closed session meeting prior to the decision to discuss the legalities of pulling from the contract. But, Councilman Vaughn objected to having a closed session and felt strongly that the public should be able to view the discussion. According to the Mayor, due to the legal suit from the Elks to the Giannakopolous family, and possible other suits, a closed session was required. After the closed session discussion the officials came out to announce the unanimous decision to pull the contract, in front of a large showing of the CCSRC, residents and some Fire Company personnel. Before adjournment, Councilman Vaughn brought up many excellent points about conserving tax payers money and taking the money set aside to purchase the elks property and using it to start fixing up the current firehouse. While, Councilwoman Farren disagreed, stating that with the amount of equipment we currently own that it cannot be housed in the current facilities and feels a new firehouse is a necessity. Councilman Roselli raised the question of putting together a committee of Borough Officials, Fire Company personnel, and residents to review our options and help decide where to proceed. He asked the Mayor if it can be placed on the agenda for their next business meeting. Mayor Krenzel decided it best to table the discussions for their next business meeting to address the concerns of where the next step is in either repairing the current George Street firehouse or building a new firehouse.
Some Background Information
Last year, South River entered into a contract to purchase the former Elks Lodge property on Main Street for $950,000 with the intention of demolishing it to build a new 5-bay firehouse at a reported cost of $7.5 to $8.5 million. The contract is currently stalled due to a restriction on the deed preventing anything other than a dwelling on the site. The Elks are pursuing legal action to lift this restriction.
We support our firemen and recognize the current firehouse on George Street is in unsafe operating condition. However, if the borough feels a replacement is necessary, the Elks Lodge is not the right location for the following reasons:
There are many other options for the location of a new firehouse that would be better suited and less costly for our town.