West Milford architect Brian Murphy has been awarded a $49,000 contract by the Township of West Milford Council to prepare plans for a $2.25 million senior citizens/community center at Bubbling Springs Park. The center will be on the site of a pavilion that was originally the site of Villa Piemonte Restaurant prior to the 1950s.
Money in the amount of $750,000 from the Passaic County Open Space Fund to be used for the new building is coming to the township in five annual installments. The township will receive $150,000 from the fund in 2023.
Many years ago, the Nosenzo property was sold and the restaurant was reopened by the new owners who named it Harness Horse Inn. Before long, the building was destroyed by fire. The Diocese of Paterson later purchased the property for a children’s camp site. Still later in 2011 the Township of West Milford bought the land from the Diocese for $762,000.
What remained of the burned-out restaurant was the base for the 5,576-square-foot pavilion, created by the township for a skate park that did not get significant use.
The council resolution passed on Monday, August 15, said there is need for completion of plans, specifications for construction, documents for bidding permitting and construction, and contract administration for the new building.
It is expected that construction bids will be sought in the fall, with construction for the project starting in early 2023. The building with capacity to hold as many as 200 people, is expected to have space that could be partitioned into multiple rooms that would open into a wraparound deck overlooking Nosenzo Pond.
Initial drawings show plans for kitchen space to be used for senior nutrition programs. The kitchen would have a side window for concessions for the soccer field near the building.
Senior lunches and programs took place regularly at the Hillcrest building before its use was abandoned. This year seniors started using the second floor of the West Milford Recreation center building to meet and play cards. They need to use a service elevator to get to this upstairs area. Installation of an elevator at the Teen Center on Westbrook Road was proposed to take seniors to a second-floor area there but the plan did not materialize.