Animals, kids or fitness.
These are the options for the former site of the Jersey Animal Coalition shelter at 298 Walton Road in South Orange.
On October 24, Village President Sheena Collum announced the four responses to the request for proposals — or RFP — posted by the township earlier this year seeking a new occupant for the building. Collum also discussed next steps.
“Because we are in active negotiations with all for entities we will not be disclosing the amounts [of the bids], anything relating to what would be a redevelopment plan that we craft with any of these entities,” said Collum. “We will be going into the negotiations within the next couple weeks.”
Collum said that she and Trustee Walter Clarke, who is Chair of the Public Works Committee, and Trustee Howard Levison, Chair of Finance and Information Technology Committee, along with Village Administrator Barry Lewis and Deputy Administrator Adam Loehner, will be performing the negotiations.
The four bidders are:
People for Animals (currently operating the town’s TNVR program) – “They are proposing a spay/neuter clinic for dogs and cats,” said Collum. “They would also be the impound for South Orange and Maplewood animals and also provide vet services Monday through Friday and shelter services as well, up to 7 days and then would do a placement after that.”
Wagmore Inn – Animal day care, operating Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
South Mountain YMCA – After-school care and summer camp. After-school care hours would be Monday through Friday 2 p.m to 7 p.m. and summer camp hours would be Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Collum noted that the township used its town-wide rehabilitation designation “so we would not be bound to go to highest bidder, but also could have the flexibility …. to be very cognizant of the use and its impact on the neighborhood … so we can negotiate with each simultaneously to see if they can offer the best deal.”
After the negotiations are completed, the township will “map those out and then have a community forum — what we do best,” said Collum. At that point, the public will then have access to the RFP responses and the bidders can “get the details directly to the public.”
After the forum, Collum said that she, Clarke and Levison will make their recommendation to the Board of Trustees. Then the Board of Trustees will hold a hearing and vote. “With a redevelopment plan, it must go to the Planning Board and then back to the governing body (the BoT) for approval,” said Collum. Again, Collum called the redevelopment plan the best way to “control exactly what happened on that site.”
She said that she did not yet have a date to announce for the public forum.