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Officials Cut Ribbon on Montgomery’s New Municipal Center, Police HQ, and Library

By Barbara A. Preston | June 30, 2022

The shiny new $40 million Montgomery Municipal Center on Orchard Road, near Route 206 in Skillman, is now open. The center will be home to municipal offices, a new branch of the Somerset County Library, and will serve as police headquarters for the township.

Montgomery Mayor Devra Keenan, Township Committee members, municipal employees, and elected officials from Somerset County and the state, celebrated the new center on June 16 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“A key element of the design of this facility is the environmental efficiency and sustainability ... that will reduce the demand for fossil fuels and reduction of storm water,” Mayor Keenan said. “And, while it is solar-ready, I will not rest until there are solar panels on the roof.”

“So many people have played integral roles in making this moment possible. This building is a bipartisan project,” Keenan said.

Former Montgomery Township Mayor Ed Trzaska attended the event. “It was amazing to see our new town hall and library finally open. It took nine years of hard work by many people, including Montgomery elected officials, residents, and professionals. We also need to thank our partners at the county,” Trzaska said.

“Bringing a new library to our community was a passion of mine during my years in office. The response to it has been overwhelming. It will serve Montgomery well for generations to come.”

Brian Auger, administrator of the Somerset County Library System started his speech by thanking Abraham Stryker.

“He’s not in this room,” he said. “In fact he is in a grave on the other side of this parking lot. Abraham died April 4, 1777 at the age of 61. I have to assume he worked this land. Could you imagine what his reaction would be right now, right here, to see what we have done to his farm? His life as a pioneer helped us to get here.”

Photo Gallery of Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Auger also thanked the library commission and employees, and the elected officials for their work toward including the new library in the municipal center. The library accounts for 20,000 square feet of the 62,000-square-foot municipal center, and includes study rooms, a children’s section, a small lounge with a fireplace, and a sound proof studio for podcasting and recordings.

Auger explained “a number of years ago, former [Montgomery] Mayor Mark Caliguire reached out to me and asked — ‘what would the county library do if Montgomery built a library?’”

“We jumped at the chance!” Auger said. “He and the town were looking for a blend of cutting edge and traditional library technologies — anchored in a warm, community space. I think you will agree that we hit that sweet spot.”

Township Administrator Donato Neiman, who retires today (June 30), joked: “This moment is bittersweet because, after 23 years as township administrator, I can say my [greatest accomplishment] was building a beautiful office for Lori Savron [the township administrator as July 1].”

Although Neiman never got to work in the new building, he certainly worked to make it a reality. He first walked the property in 2013, when it was the corporate headquarters of ConvaTec. The company listed the space for sale. “I thought it would be a great place for a municipal complex,” he said.

“The completion of this project is the end of a long journey,” he said. “We started over 20 years ago. I take great pride in being able to open this building to our community and our employees.

“Montgomery has become a sophisticated suburban municipality with a population of 24,000. It needs a facility that can better serve its residents.”

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Assemblywoman Sadaf Jaffer spoke as well. As a former Montgomery mayor, she said she is bursting with pride. The new municipal center has been a labor of love for many elected officials, municipal and county government employees, professional partners, and volunteers.

When Jaffer became mayor in 2019, the project was already in process. She held a town hall to get feedback on the design, and, based on public input, she says the township decided to add a community room in the library, more study rooms, and an architectural design that reflected the harmony of nature, and green spaces outside of the library.

“We have our own piece of paradise here in Montgomery,” Jaffer said. “It is my hope that this will be a central meeting space to bring people together and help build bridges of understanding and connection for our community.”

DMR Architects in Hasbrouk Heights designed the building. Lead Designer Kurt Vierheilig said it took two-and-a-half years to design the project. “I hope residents appreciate the building,” he said. “It echoes the history of Montgomery Township, but also looks at what the future has to hold.” ■


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