The South Orange Board of Trustees will hold a “Forum on the Future of Village Hall,” a special meeting to share details and solicit feedback from stockholders on two proposed uses for the historic Village Hall.
The meeting is Monday, June 15, 8 p.m., in the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) Main Stage.
In 2014, the BOT agreed to explore the sale of Village Hall for adaptive reuse purposes at the same time that it was pursuing renovation for municipal purposes. As a part of the requirements for adaptive reuse, it was required that the building must be preserved to historic standards.
Bids for the renovation costs have been received along with two offers for adaptive reuse of the building — a boutique hotel and a restaurant group that restores historic buildings.
Village President Sheena Collum provided more details on what to expect at Monday’s meeting:
First, at the beginning of the meeting, I will go over the “game rules” of what will be shared publicly at that point in time and also a brief history on how we got here today. I was anticipating that we would be in a better position to share financial projections but that will not happen because depending on the feedback we receive on Monday from the community, we will still be in active negotiations with the proposers if an adaptive reuse is ultimately selected. If it isn’t, then it’s pretty black and white what the expected costs are for the renovation as well as the floor plans of the new Village Hall as it relates to municipal operations. I do like to share information as much as possible (hopefully most folks know that by now!) but certain information may impede our ability to negotiate on behalf of our community and produce a more favorable outcome. With that said, the details of what the BOT has will not be shared.
Next, as mentioned last Monday night, I setup meetings for the individual Trustees to each have time to meet with the entities proposing an adaptive reuse for the site. That gave everyone an opportunity to ask questions and hear directly from the source. As you may recall, both Howard and myself have been the only two directly involved in conversations with both groups to date due to OPMA. I want the Trustees to have all the information they need before this gets put to a vote.
Finally, instead of me or the BOT sharing with you the details of the proposals, we have asked the groups to come make the presentation and answer questions from the community directly. I like this approach a lot more. Below are the two groups you will be hearing from. The links provided will give you somewhat of an overview of the type of work they’ve done. I also encourage you to visit their other sites.
Depending on how many people come to the meeting, we will have to adjust public comment times and question time to make sure everyone has a chance to be heard.
If you already know you cannot attend the meeting, you can send comments or questions to me at [email protected] and I will share the feedback with my colleagues on the BOT and will get answers for you at Monday’s meeting if you have questions.