Sewer Groundbreaking Ceremony Set — You Are Invited!
The collaboration among Lakewood Township officials, NJ HAND, NJ STEPS/Homes for All, the Lakewood Affordable Housing Corporation, and New Jersey American Water Company to build affordable housing is entering a new phase of development with a sewer groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the growth of Lakewood and the installation of a sewer line. The public is invited to the ceremony on Spruce Street at the intersection of Vine Street on Tuesday, March 13 at 10:00 a.m.
If you are planning to attend the groundbreaking ceremony, please contact Cindy in the Lakewood Municipal Manager’s office at 732-364-2500 Ext. 5204 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The installation of the sewer line, which begins at Spruce Street, continues south to Vine Street, then to Oak will allow the completion of the NJ Hand property, which could result in a couple of hundred more affordable housing units and the construction projects of the other developers, the Affordable Housing Corporation, STEPS/ Homes for All.
In Phase I, 72 NJ Hand units of the affordable housing were built. In Phase II, now in construction, about 58 units are being built; however, after the construction of phases I and II, no more units will be able to be built unless a sewer line is installed.
Committeeman Steven Langert as former mayor and Steve Reinman, director of economic development, have been working closely with New Jersey American Water Company to move the project forward into a new phase of development. They established a planning committee to study the infrastructure and to work closely with New Jersey American Water to overcome obstacles keeping the project from moving forward.
Reinman says, “The point of the committee was to lay out long range plans that would determine where growth would mostly likely occur in this town and to see if the infrastructure could handle it. The committee convened all the utilities and we looked at several areas of the town. We decided to attack first what was in the Smart Growth Plan, called the Oak Street core. Because that is a largely unbuilt but growing area in need of infrastructure, we started to plan how we could bring a sewer there. What came out of those planning discussions was the realization that we could lay in an infrastructure for the future growth of this area and unblock a stumbling block—the sewer—that was holding up all this affordable housing growth for close to five years.”
Without the sewer, the only option would be the construction of a $3 million pump station, for which affordable housing did not have the money. Putting in the sewer line, without a pump station, means affordable housing needs only a fraction of the money a pumping station would have cost AND they are able to move ahead with their project.
In addition, consumers will not have to pay as much as in the case of most residential development where the developer puts in the sewer and then the water company reimburses them for the cost, which is then passed on to rate payers or all consumers. In this instance, affordable housing officials and the township are contributing a portion of the cost of this project. Because the water company is not paying for that portion, they will not be able to build it into the rate case. This means the consumer will never pay for the portion paid for by the town and affordable housing.
Committeeman Ray Coles says, “Township officials have been working with New Jersey American Water for several years to get to this point. It is the spirit of cooperation and collaboration that is allowing something that will bring so much benefit to so many people.”