Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Dey Visitors Center Running a Year Late

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Dey Visitors Center Running a Year Late

Article excerpt

Passaic County spent one year and $1.4 million on the painstaking restoration of the historic Dey Mansion in Wayne, where every replacement roof shingle, window pane and floor board had to match the Colonial era design.

Yet it's the relatively simple, prefabricated construction of the new Dey Mansion Visitors Center that has cost more time and more headaches. The visitors center is an empty lot and a year behind schedule, an eyesore beside the newly refurbished mansion where Gen. George Washington directed the Continental Army in the summer and fall of 1780.

First, a dispute with the contractor, Riefolo Construction of Cedar Grove, over permits stopped construction before the building foundation was even laid.

Then, with the bucket-loader sitting idle through the spring and summer months, Passaic County decided to redesign the project to make more space for its new office of Cultural and Historic Affairs. The Dey Mansion reopened in February, but nothing is happening on the lot where the visitors center would be.

"It's profoundly upsetting, this chain of events that has led us to this point," said Ed Smyk, the Passaic County historian. "We had anticipated the opening of the visitors center would coincide with the dedication of the Dey Mansion last February. I just hope we can get this resolved and move forward."

Passaic County took a step forward earlier this week, when the freeholders approved an $11,850 payment to its architect, John Milner Associates, for additional work deemed "outside of the scope" of the original plan. County officials expect construction to restart shortly.

Passaic County spokesman Keith Furlong said the new layout would create more space and convey "modernity, activity and excitement." It also would make the restrooms less accessible to golfers playing at the Preakness Valley course out back.

"The second-floor layout was designed also as an open layout for the storage of files and artifacts from the collection not on display from the permanent collection," Furlong said. …

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