Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Synagogue Site Could Be Used for Community Center

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Synagogue Site Could Be Used for Community Center

Article excerpt

POMPTON LAKES -- Borough officials have approved hiring experts to study buying the Congregation Beth Shalom property for use as a municipal community center.

Officials sounded upbeat during last Wednesday's council meeting about the idea of acquiring the synagogue at 21 Passaic Ave., but they emphasized the process is in the early stages. Officials approved conducting an appraisal of the site, along with an environmental-impact study and an architectural analysis of the building, according to Borough Administrator Kevin F. Boyle.

Officials discussed using the temple building as a place not only for senior citizens and teens, but possibly for Borough Hall's functions. They did so at the prompting of resident Randy Hinton during the public comment portion of the meeting.

"This is a process. This takes time," Council President Michael Serra said. "There are a lot of things involved in just getting to the point to make the offer. We have to make sure prices are right, make sure the building is safe."

Congregation Beth Shalom, located in the building since 1968, has been looking for a smaller home.

Serra said it's a large building that could support several options.

"I support making a building for our seniors, who have come and asked us numerous times for a new place to meet," Serra said. "Our rec place where our children meet is not a good place for kids to be meeting. They need a better place to be running around and staying off the streets.

"All these things can be accomplished in this building. That's why I do support purchasing this temple."

Councilman Lloyd Kent said the building is large enough for a teen center, a gymnasium, and a civic center and could accommodate Borough Hall functions. He stressed, however, that if Borough Hall were to be relocated there, selling the municipal building also should be considered, to recoup some of the expense it would take to move.

"I could go on record as saying at this point I'm not in favor of carrying the two buildings," Kent said. …

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