As we all Join the Journey for another wonderful Fellowship year, many of you will be interested in an update on the facilities project. And, some of you may have noticed and wondered about several big piles of DIRT in front of and behind our building. Read on for the answer to this mystery!
The short answer: our facilities project is moving forward full steam! Over the summer, the engineering drawings for the site plan were finalized and filed with Morris Township. In early September, our professional team met with the Township Planner who determined that the plans were complete. We expect that the required public hearing will be scheduled in late October. It is likely that our request will require two evenings to process so final approve could come as early as November.
The Fellowship will be represented at the public hearings by legal counsel, a professional planner, and our architect and engineer. While members may certainly attend these meetings, please expect our professionals to manage the presentation and respond to any challenges that are raised.
Contributions to the Capital Campaign continue to be received with the total now just under $2.3 million!
The final plans contain several elements to enhance our connection to the outdoors. First, a patio will be constructed on the south side of the new Fellowship Hall (i.e., the side facing the labyrinth) to replace the current patio outside the Terrace Room. Second, the playground will be relocated near the large tree that is on the left side of the back lawn as you go downhill toward the labyrinth. A little earthwork will be required to level that site. This location will make the playground readily visible to parents from either the patio or the large gathering room in the Fellowship Hall.
Back to those piles of Dirt: They are part of the storm water management plan and reflect where several 12’ deep holes were excavated in order to obtain soil samples and test them for permeability. The tests were favorable and permit channeling water into underground storage structures, where it can then recharge the local aquifer. This recharge method will be used for runoff from the roofs and the small parking lot adjacent to the new Fellowship Hall. Permeable paving in portions of that small parking lot will filter the water before it flows into underground storage.
In the large parking lot, runoff will be collected using standard storm drains and then routed via underground pipes toward the lower parking lot. A storm water bio-detention basin will be constructed adjacent to the lower lot. Plantings in the basin will help filter the water as it is absorbed or evaporates. The berm surrounding this basin will be low (about 3 feet) and since it is not intended to hold substantial amounts of standing water, no fencing will be required.
Following the public hearings, the work will begin in earnest for executing our dreams! Some of the tasks include design sessions to develop the detailed specifications for the Fellowship Hall, an exploration of potential construction financing, and obtaining competitive bids for the construction of the parking lot and building. These are exciting times for our faith community.