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Township Closes On $14 Million Purchase Of Consolata Missionaries Property

Mayor Phil Kramer, seated, right, and Fr. Paolo Fedrigoni sign the closing papers for the township’s purchase of the 65-acre Consolata Missionaries property. Looking on (left to right) are Deputy Mayor Carl Wright and Township Councilmen Ted Chase and James Vassanella.


What some township officials called the best land purchase in township history was closed on May 11, when papers were signed for the $14 million purchase of the 65-acre Consolata Missionaries tract on Route 27.

Consolata representatives, township officials and others were on hand in the Township Council chamber for the closing, for which an oversized presentation check for $14,090,000 had been prepared.

Following the signing of the closing papers by Mayor Phil Kramer and Consolata’s Fr. Paolo Fedrigoni, and the awarding of the actual check to Fr. Fedrigoni, everyone in attendance toasted the deal with sparkling water.

 

Fran Varacalli, the township’s open space consultant, called the land “a great piece of property.”

“It could have been developed into townhomes, and now it’s going to be multi-purpose active recreation, farmland, and it’s yet to be determined what’s going to happen with the buildings, but it’s a great piece of property,” she said.

Kramer said the deal was “the best land acquisition” he’s seen in the 14 years he’s been involved with the township.

“It’s preventing the community from having 600 homes that brings traffic and kids in school and increased traffic, and offers us  several opportunities, and I’m looking forward to helping choose the best one for the town,” he said.

Kramer said there will most likely be three separate uses for teh land.

“I foresee the southernmost portion remaining farmland, I’m hoping that we get a YMCA in the northernmost portion, and the middle portion, there are a lot of people vying for that,” he said. “Right now my heart’s with the school board, but I may change my mind on that, depending on what’s best for the town. But we have a lot of good opportunities for the town.”

Board of Education president Ed Potosnak said the district wants to use part of the property for administrative and staff professional development.

Fr. Paolo Fedrigoni, right, hands over the keys to the Consolata property’s buildings to Township Manager Robert Vornlocker.

Fr. Fedrigoni called the signing “the crowning of a long process.”

“We liked very much the news that the township was interested in buying the buildings, not only because we found somebody who wanted to buy them, but also because being in the township, it was important to see that this land and maybe the buildings, would be reused,” he said.

The mission decided to sell the property because the number of missionaries there had dramatically decreased over the last decade or so, he said.

“Up to 15 years ago, we were many more missionaries, and so these buildings were built for that number of missionaries, and the number dwindled, so we were asking ourselves what to do,” he said. “The buildings were practically beyond our necessities.”

A rendering of the Consolata property.

He said there are three missionaries, down from 12 at their height.

“Lately we haven’t got any local people to join, so that forced us to reconsider our presence here,” he said. “We moved to California where we run two parishes there, and here we only kept the administrative offices.”

The offices manage the projects taken on by the mission, he said.

Fr. Fedrigoni said that the remaining missionaries have purchased a home on the North Brunswick side of Route 27.

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Copyright 2017 The Franklin Reporter & Advocate

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