Sea Isle City celebrates finish of $11.7 million City Hall project

By Bill Barlow for Shore News Today on September 21, 2015

SEA ISLE CITY — About a month shy of three years after the area was slammed by Hurricane Sandy, officials gathered Monday morning. Sept. 21, to celebrate opening of a larger new combined City Hall and police station in Sea Isle City, 233 JFK Blvd., renovated and repaired after flooding caused extensive damage to the buildings.

Mayor Leonard Desiderio thanked city employees. “We lost City Hall, police and fire buildings during Sandy, but work went on during some unbelievable conditions,” he said.

Jokingly calling Sea Isle City the capital of Cape May County, Desiderio also thanked City Council members, those that worked on the building, and others.

“You’re going to love coming here to pay your taxes,” he said.

Sea Isle Council ChambersThe crowd takes a tour inside and checks out the council chambers/municipal court room.

Sea Isle Ribbon CuttingMayor Leonard Desiderio cuts the ribbon with city council members and freeholders by his side.

The former City Hall on Landis Avenue, more than a century old, has been demolished and is now a municipal parking lot. The police station was newer, but still had issues and was badly damaged by Sandy.

Police and city operations were relocated to the former public school building after the storm.

According to officials, there were issues with both City Hall and the Public Safety Building even before the flood. The buildings fell short of the requirements of the federal Americans with Disabilities act, and with current flood standards. Staff say there were flooding issues with City Hall well before Sandy.

City Hall was built in 1906, and the Public Safety Building in the 1970s. According to city officials, after several planning sessions and public discussions, the city administration got the go-ahead to begin designing a new municipal building, to house City Hall operations, along with the municipal court, the construction office, police and the volunteer fire company.

Hessert Construction of Marlton got an $11.77 million contract to begin work on the new building, and the former building was demolished. Design is by Garrison Architects of Bellmawr. There was a ground-breaking ceremony on March 31, 2014.

Sea Isle hopes to eventually see some federal Sandy relief money to offset the construction cost, but for now, officials don’t know how much that will be or when they could see the money, according to Katherine Custer, a spokeswoman for the city.

The larger, 29,000-square-foot building includes ground level parking, and complies with current ADA and flood protection standards, according to officials. Police, the fire department, and the office of emergency management will be on the first floor, the municipal clerk, finance, construction purchasing, human resources and the city business administrator on the second floor, and the Sea Isle City Municipal Court, City Council and the mayor’s office on the third floor.

City Council will meet in the municipal court meeting room, which can house 134 people. "


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