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Bellmawr Council Approves Resolution Authorizing Bathroom Facility Project at Essex Ave. Batting Cages

SJO Photo

Bellmawr Council approved Resolution #05:138-1 at their May 23, 2019 meeting authorizing Bach Associates, PC to prepare plans for a bathroom project at the batting cages on Essex Avenue. The Resolution also authorized the firm for design inspection and construction management of the project.

In November, 2016, J.H. Williams, Inc. of Moorestown was awarded the $564,000 contract to construct the batting cages. Bathrooms and water plumbing were not included as part of the original project plans.

The batting cages were dedicated in October, 2017 in memory of Tom Mitchell, Sr.

  • All other business on council’s agenda was approved, including:A Resolution authorizing Michael McKenna to represent Mayor and Council regarding the Bellmawr Redevelopment Agency.
  • A Resolution appointing Steven Hagerty as a member of the Bellmawr Redevelopment Agency for the unexpired term of Jim D’Angelo, until December 31, 2019.

To view the meeting agenda, click the image below:

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Bellmawr Feature Stories News Recent News

Bellmawr Batting Cages Named in Memory of Tom Mitchell, Sr.

On October 4, 2017, the Borough of Bellmawr hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new batting cages on Essex Avenue.

The batting cages were named in memory of Tom Mitchell, Sr. and were paid for by the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) as compensation for a little league field that had been acquired as a result of the Direct Connect Project. 

Mitchell passed away from ALS in June, 2014. He was a former president of Bellmawr Baseball and also a former commissioner of Babe Ruth Baseball.

He was a member of IAABO Board 34 Basketball Officials, Al Carino Boys Basketball Club, and the Independent Umpires Association.

Mitchell was a former Treasurer and Councilman for the Borough of Bellmawr and was also an active member of St. Joachim Parish, Annunciation BVM Church for many years.

In a Facebook post Tom Mitchell, Jr. wrote of the batting cages being dedicated in honor of his father.

“I am truly proud and honored that a ceremony has been planned by the Borough of Bellmawr to dedicate the new indoor batting cages of Bellmawr Baseball in the name of my father, Thomas Mitchell, Sr. His love of baseball and sportsmanship was evident to those who ever met him. Just wish he was still with us!”

At the dedication ceremony that was well attended by many members of the Mitchell family, Tom said: “Because of these batting cages, more children will get to love baseball.”

Photo Gallery by SJO:

 

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Bellmawr Feature Stories News Recent News

Bellmawr Batting Cages Eyed for Early May Completion

Construction of the Bellmawr Batting Cages on Essex Avenue continues to progress and the targeted completion date is on or about May 1, “weather permitting,” stated Bellmawr Borough Administrator, Josh Tregear.

J.H. Williams, Inc. of Moorestown was awarded the $564,000 contract in November, 2016.

Bellmawr News Bellmawr Batting Cages
All photos of the Bellmawr Batting Cages by SJO.

Bellmawr News Bellmawr Batting Cages
Bellmawr News Bellmawr Batting Cages

During Council’s March 23, 2017 meeting, a resident asked if the batting cages would be equipped with running water or bathrooms. To obtain more information, SJO filed an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) Request.

In response to the ORPA Request, SJO was provided with:

  • The drawings of the building as prepared by Garrison Architects.
  • The contract between the Borough of Bellmawr and the contractor, J.H. Williams of Moorestown.
  • The specifications for the Bellmawr Batting Cages.

The plans show that the building will not be equipped with bathrooms or water plumbing; however, it will have HVAC.

Mayor Filipek pointed out at last month’s meeting that the Little League building has bathrooms and that when the batting cages officially open, they will be a part of the Recreation Department.

For additional clarification, SJO emailed Borough Admistrator Tregear and asked if there will be two bays inside the batting cages and if nets or machines are included.

Tregear responded via email: “There are two bays. There is netting included in the build that can be raised/lowered mechanically. Machines, balls, etc. are ancillary of the project contract, and may be secured separately, possibly through donations, etc.”

Bellmawr Mayor Frank Filipek spoke about the batting cages during Council’s August 29, 2016 meeting by saying that the State of New Jersey is paying for the project “for the property that they took from the Little League.”

In exchange for the land, the Mayor explained that the Borough received the batting cages and a parking lot. “It is going to be an enclosed batting cage. It is not going to cost the taxpayers one cent,” he said.

The documents received in response to the OPRA Request can be viewed by clicking the images below:

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Bellmawr Local Government News Recent News

Bellmawr Borough Budget Presentation: April 27

Bellmawr Borough will hold its formal Budget presentation on Thursday, April 27 at 7:00 p.m. at next month’s Council meeting. The hearing was supposed to have taken place during Council’s March 23 meeting, but all of the appropriations have not been received and could change slightly, Councilman Ray Bider said. He apologized and stated that more information will be given in April.

In the meantime, the User Friendly Budget and the 2017 Budget are online. “You can go on there and get an idea of where we are headed,” Bider said. (Scroll to the bottom of this article for links to the budget information.)

Next month, Bider said that he, Josh Tregear (Borough Administrator) and Maria Fasulo (Chief Financial Officer) would give the budget presentation.

Bider also stated that every department head in the Borough was required to submit a five-year plan. “This will help long range projections, especially for capital items.”

In other finance matters, Bider spoke about Resolution #03:83-17, which authorizes the Borough to participate in an electronic Tax Sale Pilot Program. At the March 16 Caucus meeting Bider explained: “All tax liens will now be done online for bidding and there will be no advertising in the paper.”

He estimated that over 100 towns in the State and approximately 30 local towns do it this way including: Runnemede, Gloucester City, Gloucester Township, Pennsauken, Washington Township, Pine Hill, and Voorhees. “We have nothing to lose and everything to gain, including revenue, by going online with tax sales,” he said.

Excerpts from Council’s Committee Reports

Councilman Paul Sandrock:

“Our new Court Administrator has been selected through the Assignment Judge of Camden County and will start on April 7 in the municipality. Amanda Cubbler was selected out of four candidates from the Assignment Judge.”

“Just to brief everybody on that process: We had over 80 applicants. We narrowed it down to nine that came in for interviews. Myself, the Business Administrator, Josh Tregear, the Judge and someone from the judiciary system sat in on those interviews. At the completion of those interviews, there were four individuals that were selected and went to the Assignment Judge who then made the final selection and recommendation.”

“Amanda comes with a Certificate for her title and she has experience with Deptford and Westville. We are proud to welcome her here.”

(*Editor’s note: As per Resolution # 03:95-17, Amanda Cubbler has been appointed as Municipal Court Administrator for a three-year term from April 7, 2017 through April 7, 2020.)

Regarding the handicapped lift: “It will be delivered the week of April 3. We are anxious to get that completed and that project done,” Sandrock said.

Bellmawr News Bellmawr Borough Hall
Photo of the main entrance to Bellmawr Borough Hall taken March 16, 2017 (Photo by SJO)

Sandrock also made the following comments on the recent unexpected demolition of the Hugg-Harrison-Glover House. “I am sure all of the other Council will say the same. I had no knowledge that it would be torn down so quickly. It’s an embarrassment to the community. It’s an embarrassment to everyone here that worked hard to try to get that home saved. At least we could have…picked those artifacts that we wanted to display for the future. That wasn’t the case. Reverend [Vincent] Kovlak, you were tireless in your endeavor and we were stunned.”

Councilman Jamie Casey 

“I attended the school board meeting on March 15 and it was their budget reading. They are looking at a 1.8 cent increase, which would mean that a house assessed at $168,000, which is the median in Bellmawr, gets a $30 increase. They are also going to have a blood drive on May 12 at Bell Oaks.”

Casey also stated that he met with the seniors at their recent luncheon and advised them that a portion of Leaf Avenue will soon be a one-way street. “They were advised of that and were happy…because of the near misses they’ve had there with car crashes.”

Councilman Jim D’Angelo

Softball and baseball have two different opening dates this year, D’Angelo said.

Girls Softball Opening Day is Saturday, April 1 and Opening Day for Bellmawr Baseball is Saturday, April 15.

There won’t be a parade this year for Girls Softball. All activities will start at the field at approximately 11:45 a.m. and the first game is scheduled for 12:15 p.m,” D’Angelo said.

As for Bellmawr Baseball, D’Angelo said. “I talked to baseball and they are still discussing about having a small parade. If that doesn’t work out, then they will start their day on the Major-League field.”

Bellmawr Hockey is installing a new rink down at the complex. “They are financing that. That is their money. We are helping them with manpower to get it up and running. They want to have the rink ready by Nationals, which are in May. We have to do it right and make sure it’s perfect,” he stated.

Bellmawr News Bellmawr Hockey
Photo of the Bellmawr Hockey Complex . (Photo by SJO)

Referencing two agenda items, D’Angelo said: “There are two Resolutions for grants, $25,000 apiece. One is for the playground at the Rec Center and the other is for benches at the basketball court and paint. Depending on whether we get the grants or not that depends on whether we proceed with the projects or not.”

He said that the playground at the Rec was closed for months last summer. “After discussing it with Mayor and Council, it’s time we move forward on this to avoid certain issues. But depending on how the grants go, that’s how it will work.”

The annual Easter Egg Hunt is Saturday, April 8 at 11:00 a.m. at the Rec Center. Rain date is April 15 at 11:00 a.m. “This is the best day of the year and we say it every year: ‘Don’t be late,’” he said.

Councilman Steve Sauter

Councilman Sauter said that they were notified on February 28 that a truck overloaded with scrap metal had struck the Browning Road overpass. “It created a problem with an 8-inch main that runs under Browning Road,” he said.

A foreman and senior licensed operator were sent out and were instructed to isolate the water main and shut down the valve. “They proceeded to identify the issue and put the wheels in motion to get emergency repair work done. That was all taken care of on March 3. Total expenditures were $18,855.49, which will totally be reimbursed per agreements,” Sauter said.

He also thanked Sewer Department Superintendent, George Rennles, for his efforts and for the quick response in remedying the situation.

As for Winter Storm Stella causing several road closures and low hanging, live wires on large tree limbs and roadways, Sauter said: “I’d like to thank all members of the Highway Department, Bellmawr Police and Fire Companies for working together in really taking care of keeping this under control.”

The expenditures to fight Winter Storm Stella totaled $6,163.67 and total storm expenditures for 2017 totaled only $20,907 thanks to Mother Nature, Sauter said.

Ordinary road construction scheduling has been completed and the Belmont Avenue and Salem Avenue projects are tentatively scheduled for early May. “They are due for total reconstruction,” he said.

Sauter also stated: “We also applied for some Community Block Development (CBG) monies and that will be used for reconstruction of Center Avenue from Park Drive to Catherine Avenue.”

Tree removal work on West Browning Road has been completed. Trees were diseased and posed serious tripping hazards. The Highway Department will begin to construct the sidewalks once everything is removed, the ground has settled, and the sewer and water have been inspected, he said.

Councilman Steve Hagerty

“Unfortunately, we had two house fires in a week and I want to congratulate the Police, Fire, and EMS for responding quickly. Everybody got out safely. Those families were relocated,” he said.

Hagerty also said he attended the March 22 graduation for Class II Special Officers at the Gloucester County Police Academy.

Bellmawr PD’s Mark DeBernardinis was one of the graduates. “He’s a Bellmawr resident and he will get sworn in and begin his field training in the town within the next week or two.”

Bellmawr News Bellmawr Police Department
Mark DeBerardinis (center) is pictured with members of the Bellmawr Police Dept. DeBerardinis was among the 15 officers who graduated on March 22, 2017 from the Gloucester County Police Academy. (From left: Sgt. Mike Ryan, Det. Chris Wilhelm, Ptl. Jared Walton, Chief William Walsh, Off. Mark DeBerardinis, Capt. Scott Parker, Sgt. Jeff Vance, Capt. Craig Wilhelm (Ret.) and Det. Sgt. Bill Perna.) (Photo by SJO)

As for Zoning, Hagerty spoke of the recent demolition of St. Joachim’s rectory.“The Borough didn’t tear it down. It’s owned by the Diocese and they made those recommendations. Soon, they are going to put the temporary bridge up and [construct] the parking at St. Joachim.”

Mayor Frank Filipek

Regarding the demolition of the Hugg-Harrison-Glover House, Mayor Filipek said: “There was nothing more I could do. I am waiting to see what the Governor says. I still haven’t heard from the Governor on his findings. They were supposed to check into all the violations that they wanted to know about.”

Public Portion

During the public portion, a resident asked if the new batting cages that are currently being constructed on Essex Avenue will be equipped with bathrooms and running water. Although this matter was discussed, SJO filed an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) Request with the Borough of Bellmawr to obtain copies of the architect’s rendering and also documentation that details what will be included and installed at the batting cages.

The information was received on March 28, 2017, is being reviewed, and will be the subject of a future article.

Bellmawr News Bellmawr Batting Cages
Photo showing the progress of the Bellmawr Batting Cages on Essex Ave.

Agenda Items

All Business on Council’s meeting agenda was approved.

Click image below to view the March 23, 2017 meeting agenda with all of the supporting Resolutions.

(Note: Resolution #03:94-17, which relates to the submission of an application regarding “Bellmawr Redevelopment Agency” was the subject of its own article.)

Bellmawr News Bellmawr Council March 23, 2017 Agenda

With regard to the bill list, (click image below) Councilman Sandrock abstained and Councilman Sauter abstained as pertains to invoices relating to pest control.

Council meets next on Thursday, April 20 at 5:00 p.m. for its Caucus meeting. The regular meeting and formal Budget Hearing will take place on Thursday, April 27 at 7:00 p.m. in the Courtroom of Borough Hall.

Click image below for the User Friendly Budget:

Borough of Bellmawr 2017 User Friendly Budget

Click the image below for the 2017 Budget:

Bellmawr News Borough of Bellmawr 2017 Budget

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Bellmawr Feature Stories News Recent News

Bellmawr’s Batting Cages Taking Shape 

Bellmawr’s batting cages, which are located on Essex Avenue, are now taking shape.

Bellmawr Mayor Frank Filipek spoke about the batting cages during Council’s August 29, 2016 meeting by saying that the State of New Jersey is paying for the project “for the property that they took from the Little League.”

In exchange for the land, the Mayor explained that the Borough received the batting cages and a parking lot. “It is going to be an enclosed batting cage. It is not going to cost the taxpayers one cent,” he said.

All photos by SJO.

Bellmawr News Bellmawr Batting Cages

Bellmawr News Bellmawr Batting Cages

Bellmawr News Bellmawr Batting Cages

Bellmawr News Bellmawr Batting Cages

J.H. Williams, Inc. of Moorestown was awarded the contract in November, 2016.

SJO will continue to provide updates as they become available, such as a projected completion date and when they are expected to open.