MONMOUTH — Monmouth Power and Light is one step closer to getting a new building. The city has closed on a parcel of land on South Ecols Street close to the substation for $350,573.
The building is a long way from being built, City Manager Scott McClure said. The earliest the city will likely start looking for an architect is in a few months, with construction beginning mid to late next year.
The move is part of the city’s plan to improve government facilities, McClure said.
“We did a facilities plan for all our buildings,” he said. “Aside from the library, they’re all bad.”
The police station was the first to get new digs. Moving Power and Light to a new location will help two city departments at once, McClure said.
While the utility will get much needed space for offices and storage, Public Works will gain the space now used by Power and Light.
“We are just overcrowded with existing facilities,” said Chuck Thurman, Power and Light manager. “The area that we are vacating will allow public works to spread out. That’s one of the big perks.”
The new building, though just a thought right now, should fit the long piece of property, and will have to account for existing wetlands somehow, McClure said.
Also, Thurman said he would like to make use of innovative and renewable power.
“We’ll be conservative, but maybe do a solar project,” he said. “I’d like people to walk out there and say, ‘Oh, that’s what solar power is all about,’ and maybe be a hands-on solar opportunity.”
Thurman said he is always conservative when it comes to spending taxpayer dollars.
McClure said it is too early to estimate how much the new building will cost, but said it is likely in the $1 million to $1.5 million range.