26 Jul Council Approves Payment to Squad for Properties Town Purchased in 2014
Princeton Council voted on July 23 to pay the Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad $950,000 for two properties the Town purchased from the Squad four years ago. The Squad will use the funds to bolster a campaign to build a new headquarters on Mt Lucas Road.
The Squad initially acquired the adjoining properties on Clearview Avenue in 2002 and 2004 with the thought of using the land for a new headquarters project that would have involved razing its more than 50-year-old headquarters on North Harrison Street.
According to a memorandum of understanding, the town also plans to purchase the existing facility, which will give the municipality three separate but adjoining properties.
July 26, 2018
Phillip Sean Curran, Staff Writer
Princeton first aid squad will use $950K from town to help fund new headquarters
The Princeton Council voted on July 23 to pay the Princeton First Aid & Rescue Squad $950,000 for two houses the squad formerly owned on Clearview Avenue. The squad will put the money toward building a new headquarters on Valley Road.
At a press conference before the council meeting, Mayor Liz Lempert said the purchase came out of an agreement the two sides had reached. The first aid squad turned over the properties to the municipality in 2014, although money did not change hands until now.
The first aid squad initially acquired the Clearview Avenue parcels with the thought of using them for a new building in a construction project that would have involved razing its more than 50-year-old headquarters on North Harrison Street. Those plans have changed, however, as the squad intends to move closer to the police and fire departments.
The first aid squad is looking to break ground this fall on an approximately 15,000-square-foot-building, a roughly $8 million project expected to take 12 months to complete, squad President Mark Freda said on July 23. The site is where the Princeton Township Department of Public Works used to be located.
“We’ll break ground probably around October, November,” he said.
The first aid squad is raising money for the project, but Freda declined to put a dollar amount on how much the organization has so far.
“We have adequate funds to start the building,” he said. “The fundraising effort has been encouraging.”
He said the first aid squad would move into the public phase of fundraising around the same time of the groundbreaking.
The squad intends to sell its current headquarters to the municipality as well. Freda said the town would pay the squad for the property in 2019.
“We have started the process to have that building appraised now,” he said. “We’ll give that appraisal amount to the town in the next month or so, whenever the appraisal is done, so they can build that number into their capital budget next year.”
As for the municipality, officials will have three properties in a section of town right near the Princeton Shopping Center. Officials have not decided how they plan to use the properties and there is no timeline for a decision.
“I think part of our consideration is do we want to still consider them as three separate properties or do we possibly want to do some redevelopment that would involve all three properties,” Lempert said. “In order to do that, we’re going to be considering all three as a unit.”
In March, the Zoning Board of Adjustment voted in favor of the first aid squad’s new headquarters, a one-story building to house an organization that has occupied its current building since 1963. Freda has said the building on North Harrison Street is “inadequate” and “way too small.”