Council Updates On Library, Water Tower, Affordable Housing

Manchester branch of the Ocean County Library. (Photo by Sara Grillo)

MANCHESTER – Although the Manchester Library is only one of 21 branches in the Ocean County Library System, it’s considered one of the largest, according to librarian Erin DeLucia.

Over 18,000 readers in Manchester have library cards, and in 2016, the library had nearly 190,000 visitors.

“I am going to say we had the highest children’s numbers throughout the summer,” said DeLucia of the kids’ summer reading program. She said that 939 kids were signed up for summer reading, and 605 kids read at least 5 books.

Many people might not know that Manchester Library also has an adult summer reading program that offers prizes, which 276 adults took advantage of this summer.

“We are used quite a bit,” said DeLucia, who said that over 2,000 people showed up for 52 unique programs this summer.

Renovations there started a couple weeks ago, and although the library won’t get any bigger, the meeting room will increase in size and you’ll see fresh carpets and paint. Departments within the library will be shifted around as well. There’s no word yet whether any closures are needed, but the work should be completed before next summer.

How Much Does A Water Tower Cost?

Repainting of the township’s water tower on Route 37 near town hall is prompting outside watering restrictions during the month of September. (Photo by Sara Grillo)

Councilman Charles Frattini shared some insight that has no doubt been on everyone’s mind when it comes to the water tower by Town Hall, which the township began repainting during the month of September.

“People in my village where the tower is situated have been asking me these questions,” said Frattini, who in turn asked business administrator Donna Markulic to do some research.

So how much would it cost to build a new water tower? According to Frattini, an estimated $3.5 million, compared to the $1.5 million in bonds that was set aside to paint the water tower that was visibly rusted.

He also noted that it would take 8 to 10 months to build a new tower, as opposed to the 12 weeks it takes to repaint it.

Affordable Housing

Council President Samuel Fusaro also shared some good news on the affordable housing front after Manchester submitted its affordable housing plan to the state.

“The courts ruled that our plan was sufficient and what that does for the township is it limits the ability for developers to basically go to the courts and say we want to build a development of this size to provide affordable housing.”

Fusaro added that back in the early 2000s, specifically 2004, the township had about six builders’ remedy lawsuits and were faced with building 4,000 to 5,000 new homes. Because of the economic downturn, fortunately very few of them were actually built.

Without putting an affordable housing plan in place, townships can be forced to build housing they are not in favor of, so Manchester should not see that happen for the next few years.