Township Council Contracts For Youth Center Feasibility Study

Township Councilwoman Kimberly Francois said proposals from eight companies were vetted before one was chosen to do a feasibility study on the proposed Lewis Street Youth Center.

A Pennsylvania-based architectural firm has been hired to conduct a feasibility study for the proposed Lewis Street Youth Center.

The Township Council awarded Kimmel Bogrette Architecture of Conshohocken, Pa. the $25,000 contract at its April 25 meeting.

The firm was selected from eight candidates, all of whom were vetted by Township Manager Robert Vornlocker,  Alice Osipowitz, Director of Parks and Recreation, Township Councilwoman Kimberly Francois (D-At Large) and Bruce Medley, Franklin Youth Initiative Coordinator.

Among the companies that were considered were Design Resources Group of Somerset and USA Architects of Somerville.

The companies were vetted “on technical expertise and experience,” and “similar work that we need to have in our youth center feasibility study” Francois said.

“The whole intent of having this feasibility study is we’re looking to have several town hall meetings to get input from the residents, we’ll also have a township steering committee that will be appointed with the contractor for the process to help guide us,” she said. “We’ll have some public workshops, we’ll have some stakeholder meetings, we’re planning to do some planning and zoning review with representatives from township planning and zoning to look at guidelines and restrictions for the development of that site.”

“We also are going to do a demographic review and assessment to make sure we understand what the needs are of that community and they will also help us draft a design of the facility,” she said.

“The public will be engaged and we will get a lot of public input,” Francois said. “This will be a collaborative process, it will not be done in a vacuum, it will be open and transparent. We’re hoping to design a youth center, based on the help of this consultant, that will meet all the needs of all the youth in Franklin Township.”

“I’m really excited about that, I’m looking forward to that,” she said.

The council at its April 11 meeting approved a bond ordinance that allocates $204,000 for the youth center’s design.

The center is targeted for a Lewis Street parcel that was once home to the Somerset Community Action Program. The building’s purchase, and its demolition, were funded as part of a $1.3 million bond ordinance approved by the council in April, 2016.


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