Board OKs Agreement to Redevelop Franklin Street School

Cape May Deputy Mayor Patricia Hendricks addresses freeholders Oct. 22.

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CREST HAVEN – Freeholders approved a shared services agreement Oct. 22 between the county, the county Library Commission, and the City of Cape May for redeveloping the Franklin Street School into a public library and community center.

According to the resolution, the county would commit an amount not to exceed $2.3 million for construction of the library, which would serve as a branch of the county library system. The county Library Commission and City of Cape May would each provide $2 million toward the project, said Freeholder Director Gerald Thornton.

The county would also commit $75,500 to complete phase two of a feasibility study, per the resolution.

Cape May City Council introduced a bond ordinance at its Oct. 15 meeting (, which calls for $2 million in capital funding, as the city’s share of the cost of the $6 million project. The ordinance is expected to be presented for adoption in November.  

“I’m very impressed with the City of Cape May and their officials, and their commitment to this project,” said Thornton. “We’re very committed with them.” He also commended the county Library Commission “for stepping up, too.” 

Cape May Deputy Mayor Patricia Hendricks, who was in attendance, said, “We, in the city, have been immensely gratified to have established a strong working relationship with Cape May County over the last several years. It’s a tribute to public efficiency, effectiveness, and enhancing opportunities for collaboration and coordination. Inter-governmental collaboration in the design and delivery of public services only makes good sense, especially when there are clear economic incentives and economies of scale to do so.   

“In the case of Franklin Street School, we share with you implicitly the value of preserving the historic building and repurposing it in the interest of the Cape Island community. The City of Cape May looks forward to our continued dialogue and interaction with the county. We believe such collaboration makes and keeps us all more informed, more innovative, and more effective in carrying out our shared commitment to serving the public.”

In other action, the board:

* Closed the contract with Hall Construction Co., Inc., of Howell, for work at the Cape May County Correctional Facility, with a final payment of $10,647.

* Agreed to settle with Joanna Bryant, a former employee of the county, who filed a workers’ compensation claim petition for “injuries allegedly attributed to her employment with the county,” per the resolution. The amount of settlement ($20,250) was agreed upon and approved by Judge of Workers Compensation Court James Robertson Oct. 3.

* Authorized the renewal of policies with Travelers Property Casualty Company of America for commercial watercraft liability ($7,692) and excess protection and indemnity liability ($4,244) for the County Prosecutor's Office patrol boat in the total amount of $11,936.     

* Authorized the use of competitive contracting for architectural engineering services for various projects at the County Park and Zoo.

* Awarded a contract to Urban Engineers, Inc. for engineering services for Ocean Drive-Pacific Avenue resurfacing improvements, Lower Township and Wildwood Crest, not to exceed $228,230.

* Reappointed David Reilly, district manager, Cape Atlantic Conservation District, as a member to the Cape May County Agricultural Development Board. His term expires Oct. 22, 2023.

* Accepted a proposal from Gibson Associates, P.A., of Ocean View, for construction testing inspection services for Hope Corson Road (CR 671) improvements, from Route 50 to Stagecoach Road (CR 667), Upper Township, not to exceed $33,316.

* Approved modification to the Townbank Road (CR 648) speed limit to 40 miles per hour from Bayshore Road (CR 603) to Seashore Road (CR 626), Lower Township.

* Modified no-passing zones on Townbank Road (CR648) from Sheriff Taylor Boulevard to Shunpike Road (CR 644).

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