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Roselle Wins Multiple Recognitions for Major Flood Control Project

Roselle Wins Multiple Recognitions for Major Flood Control Project

Maser Consulting P.A. is pleased to announce the West Brook Flood Control Project for the Borough of Roselle has received multiple excellence in engineering awards for this project. The New Jersey Society of Municipal Engineers awarded the project its 2013 Municipal Management Project of the Year, and the New Jersey Alliance for Action bestowed its 2014 Distinguished Engineering Award upon the project. Designed in conjunction with Union County, the Construction Management portion of the project was administered by Maser Consulting P.A.

"This project was a huge undertaking that was successful due to the high level of communication and cooperation between everyone involved, including Union County, our state legislatures, the Roselle Borough Council and Public Works Department, Maser Consulting Engineers, Montana Construction and the utility companies," stated the Honorable Jamel Holley, Mayor of Roselle Borough. "This includes our community members for their participation in our outreach groups and their patience."

The Borough of Roselle is located within the West Brook watershed which traverses throughout the Borough, literally meandering through backyards, beneath roadways, and alongside schools and businesses. Under normal weather conditions the brook posed no threat of flooding to community properties. However, with any type of heavy rainfall, flooding waters from the brook caused serious and recurring damage, routinely interfered with traffic flow, inhibited municipal and emergency services for extended periods of time, and eventually took a toll by undermining existing Borough infrastructures. All of these problems combined to interrupt the community’s quality of life while raising flood insurance premiums.

Over many years of erosion and development, the West Brook had a limited capacity to adequately contain stormwater. In a massive, $10 million effort to put its community first, the Borough’s West Brook Flood Control Project was a monumental initiative that deepened and widened a two and a half mile long stretch of the brook to increase its stormwater capacity. From First Avenue to Raritan Road, this revitalization project excavated up to four-feet of the brook bottom and widened it up to 40-feet. The brook’s natural channel was stabilized with rock-lined walls, six road-crossing bridges and one foot bridge were replaced, and native vegetation planted to help with future erosion. Expected to handle 100-year storm events, this undertaking has already brought flood relief to the Borough and increased the overall quality of life for residents. It is hoped that revised FEMA flood elevations will help to lower flood insurance premiums.

Graciously supported by legislators Senator Raymond Lesniak and Assemblyman Joseph Cryan, the project was funded in part by a $5 million grant from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection; the remaining cost was split by Union County and the Borough of Roselle.

The New Jersey Society of Municipal Engineers (NJSME) is a non-profit organization established in 1929 to advance and improve the practice of Municipal Engineering in the State of New Jersey. It presents its Project of the Year awards annually in multiple categories. The New Jersey Alliance for Action is a non-profit, non-partisan coalition of over 2,500 business, labor, professional, academic, and government leaders that continues to be a leading advocate for investment in infrastructure for New Jersey’s economy, environment, and overall quality of life.

About Maser Consulting P.A.

Maser Consulting is a multi-disciplined engineering firm with a unique balance of public and private sector experience. Headquartered in Red Bank, NJ, this award-winning firm employs over 450 professionals in a network of regional offices concentrated throughout the East Coast with a nationally diversified project portfolio. Over its history, the firm has gained national recognition by Engineering News Record as one of its Top 500 Design Firms, has consistently ranked on The Zweig Letter Hot Firm List of fastest growing companies, and on NJ Biz’s 50 Fastest Growing Companies in New Jersey. For additional information on Maser Consulting, please call 877.627.3772, visit our website at, or join us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn!

View the Press Release Here

Golf Course Redevelopment Initiative

The redevelopment of the former Roselle Golf Club site will positively impact the residents of the Borough for years to come. The 932 unit project is expected to be constructed in five phases over the course of the next six years. While the property will be subject to a 30-year tax abatement, the developer will make annual payments-in-lieu-of-taxes (PILOTs) which will be significantly more than the current tax revenue generated by the golf course. In addition to the financial benefit through the PILOT, the project will generate non-financial benefits in the form of attracting new residents and additional redevelopment projects. The influx of new residents will benefit the Borough by increasing spending, revitalizing existing shopping centers, and job growth throughout the Borough.

The Borough has negotiated a 30-year PILOT agreement with the developer in which the developer will make annual payments in the approximate amount of $2.1 million. The golf course currently generates approximately $300,000 in annual property tax revenue. The PILOT is expected to cover all municipal and school costs associated with the increase in residents and leave the Borough with approximately $900,000. This excess revenue will be used by the Borough to offset general appropriations in the budget, thereby reducing the tax burden on each resident.

Further, the Borough has negotiated a Community Impact Fee, which is an additional per-unit charge that can be used directly by the Borough to offset budget appropriations. At full build, the Community Impact Fee is expected to be approximately $325,000. Both the Community Impact Fee and PILOT revenue are annual revenue streams that will reduce the tax burden on the residents of the Borough for the next thirty years.

In addition, the redevelopment of the golf course will greatly impact the local economy. The new residents will create greater demand for jobs, goods and services, which will in turn revitalize existing shopping centers and business areas. This can then lead to additional redevelopment projects throughout the Borough. Increased development can have significant benefit to local property values.

The Borough will have will have a high level of control over the project through the Planning Board. The Borough and the developer will work together to fashion a residential complex that both contains all necessary amenities and does not look out of place in the community. The buildings will not exceed four stories and approximately 40% of the property will be set aside for open space and parkland. Further, the parkland and walking trails will be available for public use.

View the financials regarding this project here.

Westbrook Flood Project Makes FEMA Website As A Full Mitigation Best Practice Story

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Union County, New Jersey

On October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy swept across the New Jersey coast causing catastrophic surges and extreme damage to homes and businesses. Residents were preparing for the worst and the citizens of the Borough of Roselle feared severe flooding. The major flood control project was under construction and many hoped it would keep much of the flooding at bay. The current stage of construction helped hold back the flooding during Sandy.

"It held up pretty well so we were very happy with that," Borough of Roselle Mayor Jamel Holley said.

The year prior, Hurricane Irene brought more than eight and a half inches of rainfall that devastated the borough with extreme flooding. Some residents had eight to ten feet of water in their homes and entire basements flooded up to the ceilings.

Overwhelmed for years, residents in Roselle have had their share of flooding. Even before Hurricane Irene, structures along Morses Creek, which passes through the borough, would be inundated with flooding after every major rain event.

"It didn't have to be a hurricane, it just had to rain steadily and we would start praying," Roselle Councilwoman Christine Dansereau said. "Everyone was installing trenches and sump pumps to help alleviate the flooding. I live in the center of where the flooding happens and you need a boat to get out of there if it rains steadily. The little bubbling brook would quickly become a raging river!"

After many years, a major storm water channel revitalization project was developed to lessen the problem. Many officials came together to form a committee to oversee the project's success. Dansereau became a member of the borough's council in order to ensure something was done about the major flooding in her neighborhood.

"At first I thought it was just our neighborhood, and then I realized that there were more than 400 people who were directly impacted," she said. "Then, I began to realize that our fire department, our police department, and our ambulance service were also affected. The burden was on the entire town!"

Protecting 2.2 square miles of low-lying land, the $12 million project Union County designed is funded with a $5 million grant from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. The remaining cost will be split between Union County and the Borough of Roselle. The project consists of widening and deepening West Brook, enlarging and updating some culverts, installing siphons for the sanitary sewer system, replacing the sanitary sewer pipes, and upgrading some utilities.

After Sandy, many residents were able to take a sigh of relief. Sandy did not bring the same amount of rain as Irene did, and Roselle residents were grateful they did not have a repeat of events. There have been fewer flood insurance claims for property damage since the project has started.

"We got used to carting out anything that was liable to be flooded," Dansereau said. "I can't believe we aren't replacing our heaters in the dead of winter. We can't be happier!"

The fourth and final phase of the project is set for completion in November 2013. The project is designed to better handle the flooding. The stream is being stabilized with rock lined walls in some areas. In other areas, the natural channel will be modified and vegetation will be planted.

Roselle Borough Engineer Carl O'Brien has been overseeing the final phase of the project. In conjunction with other borough officials, he has been involved in public awareness initiatives to make sure everyone who is affected is informed of the changes. Though the rain Sandy produced did not fully test the project, borough officials are confident it will correct the major flooding issues once it is completed. Overall, O'Brien feels the project will affect more than just those residing along the creek. "I'm optimistic that it will work for the entire town," he said.

The Green Acres Project

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Roselle residents seeking open space will soon have options that include a basketball court and a splash park for children.

The Union County borough received an $850,000 grant from the state Green Acres program to renovate three parks, Roselle officials said last week. The award also includes a no-interest loan of $50,000, with a 20-year payback plan.

Councilman-at-large Jamel Holley, who is also a mayoral candidate, said the funding would provide much-needed improvements to the parks, which have not been renovated in more than two decades.

"This is a home run," Holley said. "We believe it will be great for our seniors and our young people to enjoy our parks and playgrounds. With the money that the taxpayers are paying out, they deserve to be rewarded."

The Pine Street Park, a bit over an acre at West Second Avenue and Pine Street, is scheduled to have its tennis courts turned into a splash park for children and to receive renovated bathrooms and new playground equipment accessible to children with disabilities.

The Chandler Avenue Park, which is just over a third of an acre between Jouet Street and Ninth Avenue, will have a new basketball court, playground equipment and fencing. The renovated park will also feature overhauled landscaping, including enhanced grading and drainage improvements.

As the smallest, Dr. Charles C. Polk Park, a 0.20-acre "pocket park" at Chestnut Street and Sixth Avenue, will have a lot of smaller-scale work done. Improvements will include new seating, landscaping, sidewalks and checkerboard tables, as well as the removal of deteriorating planter boxes.

Roselle received all of the money it asked for, Holley said, a rarity in grant funding that will allow the borough to proceed with the full plan outlined in its proposal. He said renovations will begin as early as this summer.

There are three levels of municipal funding, which is determined based on population density, said Martha Sapp, chief of local and nonprofit assistance at the Green Acres program. Roselle, designated an urban aid area or the most densely populated of the three categories, received the highest level of funding.

"A lot of projects are redevelopment projects in urban areas because they are heavily used by a large number of people," Sapp said. "That is true of the Roselle parks."