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Township Council Looks At SCAP Building As Possible Youth/Community Center

SCAP building1

This vacant Lewis Street building, owned by SCAP, is being eyed by the Township Council as a youth/community center.

A vacant building on Lewis Street, owned by the Somerset Community Action Program, is being eyed by the Township Council as a youth/community center.

The council at its March 25 meeting gave the go-ahead to township manager Bob Vornlocker to hire the engineering firm CME to take a thorough look at the building and estimate what it would cost to get it habitable.

Vornlocker said that assessment would cost $9,450.

The building, which has been vacant for at least five years, has “fallen into disrepair,” Vornlocker told the council.

Preliminary estimates are that it would cost “$750,000 to $1 million to bring it up to today’s code,” Vornlocker said.

The 19,000-square-foot building is owned by the Somerset Community Action Program, which would like to either lease or sell it to the township, Vornlocker said.

“SCAP is interested in partnering with the township,” he said.

Councilwoman Kimberly Francois (D-At Large), a member of the SCAP Board of Directors, said the building has sparked a lot of interest from non-profits.

“We’ve (SCAP) had several organizations come to us from the county,” she said.

“It’s a huge building,” she said. “It could be used for the entire community, not just youth.”

She said a partnering deal with SCAP would mean the township would manage the building’s day-to-day operations and be responsible for its maintenance.

“There’s a huge community groundswell” for such a center, Francois said.

Vornlocker said the idea for a youth center has been “discussed many times” over the last several decades.

Mayor Brian Levine (R), also a member of the SCAP board, said converting the building would “be a good thing for the town.”

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