Township Administrator’s Corner by Vito Sinopoli

As we look ahead to an exciting year in 2024, an important project is set to expand public access to a newly acquired property and enhance the Bath Township community. The North Fork Preserve project will involve several aspects, including renovation of a once occupied residential home, promising a blend of modern functionality and an opportunity for increased public meeting space in the community.

The cornerstone of the North Fork Preserve project is the residential home renovation. With architectural designs now completed through the work of Peninsula Architects, the project is set to advance to the next critical phase. As early as spring 2024, the designs will be officially submitted for competitive bidding, marking a significant milestone in the construction process.

The residential home renovation aims to integrate updated construction design and engineering standards, while preserving the rich historical character of the property. Peninsula Architects worked closely with township officials to develop designs that balance the property’s rich heritage while incorporating design improvements for future public use of the property.

A core component of the project involves extensive interior demolition, encompassing the removal of outdated structures, making way for a rejuvenated space that aligns with modern standards of safety and comfort.

The replacement of exterior/interior doors and some windows in the home stands out as an important element in the renovation. This not only enhances the visual appeal of the property, but also contributes to improved energy efficiency, reflecting a commitment to sustainable design principles.

Beyond the aesthetic enhancements, the renovation is set to transform the interior functionality of the residential space. Stabilizing the floors opens up the possibility of creating spacious meeting rooms for public use. This approach aims to make the renovated home a hub for community engagement and gatherings, redefining it as a multifunctional space that serves the broader community.

The strategic design of the interior layout is a testament to the project’s commitment to not just preserve the physical structure, but also to foster an environment that encompasses the evolving needs of the community.

While the residential home renovation will be the focus for 2024, the North Fork Preserve property also has another key component; a large barn with exciting opportunity. Although specific plans for the barn are yet to be determined, preliminary efforts have been made to enhance its structural integrity. The removal of a loft area, replacement of windows and priming of the exterior siding are indicative of the preservation approach being taken to maintain this historical structure. The barn holds immense potential to become a focal point of the preserve, offering a versatile space for various community activities and events.

The township has obtained a $120,000 State Capital Grant, along with a $120,000 Community Development Block Grant, both of which will be applied to the home renovation. The township will continue to seek out other funding opportunities for projects at the North Fork Preserve.

As the year unfolds, the North Fork Preserve project will bear witness to the township’s preservation and enhancement initiatives. Beyond the physical structure, it represents a commitment to preserving the essence of the heritage of the North Fork Preserve, while creating spaces that resonate with the present. The residential home renovation and the barn’s future transformation are poised to redefine the North Fork Preserve, setting the stage for a 2024 filled with promise, creativity and a commitment to the community. ∞