Tuesday, February 20, 2024

A Facelift for Frelinghuysen Town Hall?

Frelinghuysen Town Hall
Frelinghuysen Town Hall, 210 Main Street, Johnsonburg, has withstood the test of time for 120 years. RVE stock photo.

Frelinghuysen’s town hall is in need of a nip and tuck. And maybe a few more things.

The township committee at its November 8 meeting moved to begin assessing the needs of the 120-year-old building that has served as the municipal building for the past several decades.

“The town hall is our face to the community,” said Mayor Keith Ramos. “I’d like to start exploring what we can do.”

Ramos said he would like to start with asking local tradespeople and interested residents to examine the building and help determine its needs.

“It will be an ongoing conversation, but I’d like to start getting some people in to take a look at it just off the bat,” he said. “As you can see the ceiling needs to be replaced in here,” he added, pointing to the ceiling of the town hall meeting room, which in the past has served as the school bus garage and later classrooms, when the building was used as a school. Ramos also cited the building’s furnace.

“I think we’ve spent about $12,000 trying to fix this furnace,” Ramos said. “It really needs to come out, and my suggestion is we need to get away from the oil altogether.”

Heat has been sporadic in town hall in recent years, Ramos said, as Township Clerk Donna Zilberfarb, who works in the building full time, “can attest to.”

“Yes, there’s no heat. Thank you,” she agreed.

Among other issues, Ramos said masonry needs to be repointed, siding repaired and several old, unused air conditioning units need to be removed, which could be a complicated process.

The township recently got an infusion of cash from the sale of property on Route 94, which Ramos said he wants to apply to paying down debt, but also to the town surplus, which could provide seed money to get the town hall work started. He added that once a project is progressing, it is easier to apply for grant money.

Ramos pointed to a number of renovations and repairs to homes and businesses that are taking place on Main Street and that the committee should continue that improvement trend with the municipal building.

“I think you see the transformation,” Ramos said, including new signs welcoming people to the township. “A lot of the residents now have seen that we have a sign actually saying you’re coming into Frelinghuysen, which, by the way, helps everybody spell it when they get here.”

Joe Phalon
Joe Phalon, Contributing Writer
Contributing Writer

Joe was lured out of retirement by the opportunity to be a part of the Ridge View Echo. During a decades-long career in publishing and journalism, he has covered government on many levels from local school boards to the United States Supreme Court.

Along the way, Joe has worked at American Lawyer Magazine, The National Law Journal and The Record among other publications, and as the Press Officer of Columbia Law School. His work has been recognized with several first place awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the New Jersey Press Association.

Being part of the Ridge View Echo brings Joe back to his roots and the kind of news coverage he loves: Telling the stories of people and local communities as well as keeping an eye on how their money is spent by their government officials.

Joe lives in Blairstown with his wife Rose, the founder of Quilting for a Cause, and their two wiener dogs. He is an artist in his spare time.