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Pending Appraisal of Former DPW Yard Could Result in Development

River Edge is currently debating whether to sell the former DPW yard on Grove Street but is still waiting on a final appraisal

Empty for 25 years, the former Department of Public Works lot at the end of Grove Street in River Edge is still awaiting a final appraisal before the borough could move forward with selling the third of an acre property.

Borough engineer Robert Costa will appear for the governing body next week to review what options the borough has regarding potential development. Former borough attorney Sam Cereste suggested selling the lot in October to a developer after merging it into the commercial zone.

"Sam Cereste gave us some proposals for a possible redevelopment of the Grove Street property," Mayor Sandy Moscaritolo said. "I'm all in favor of doing that, but in the mean time, we need to determine our long-term goal for development or private sale."

In October, Cereste estimated that the property could be sold for $500,000 to $600,000 but the final number would depend on the assessment. Once developed it could bring in an estimated $40,000 in taxes per year.

One option for the property until the appraisal is completed, is to turn it into a temporary commuter parking lot, but even that was met with resistance.

"I would hate to allocate funding towards that," Councilman Alphonse Bartelloni said. "Things have a way, while temporary to become permament. Residents did not want the DPW putting anything there. I'm not sure how they would feel about commuters coming in and out of that street."

The lot, which the borough paid $130,000 for, is currently split between the commercial and residential zones. Another problem with the area is that it fronts onto Kinderkamack Road but drops 15 feet down in the rear towards Grove Street.

According to Costa, the old concrete foundations from the DPW garages would need to be removed and retaining walls and drainage would have to be installed. 

"The property should be put to some use," Moscaritolo said. "I want to explore every option while still going forward with the appraisal before we make any decision."

At one point DPW Superintendent John Lynch had proposed creating a satellite location for his office during times of emergency following the lasting effects of Hurricane Irene, he later reversed that direction, stating that his concerns of vandalism and the upset residents outweighed any benefit.

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