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10 Most Endangered Historic Sites – 2008 Announced

May 7, 2008

Preservation NJ announced the annual 10 Most Endangered Historic Sites list for 2008 yesterday. Included in the list were: Arneytown Historic District (Burlington County), Atlantic City Post Office, Lake Solitude Dam (High Bridge), Beach Theatre (Cape May),

former Belcoville Post Office (Weymouth Twsp), 160 Willard Avenue in Bloomfield, Sacred Heart Church (Jersey City), Forney House & Clinic (Milltown),

Speedwell Avenue (Morristown) and Shady Rest Golf Club (Scotch Plains).

Listings bring attention to these sites and many like them that are equally endangered across the state. Many previously-listed sites have found new life, often thanks to the attention brought to their plight by the 10 Most listing.

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  1. William Honachefsky Jr permalink
    June 27, 2008 9:12 am

    Second bidder for dam project
    Hydro power sought from High Bridge lake
    Tuesday, June 24, 2008
    BY CATHY BUGMAN
    Star-Ledger Staff
    A second company has come forward in recent weeks with an interest in developing hydroelectric power from water in a lake owned by High Bridge.

    Representatives of National Hy dropower Corp. of Hackettstown are scheduled to meet privately Thursday with the borough council to discuss specifics about their proposal for the venture.

    At a June 12 presentation be fore the council, company representatives laid out the preliminary aspects of a plan to restore a dam at the lake, and build a 500- kilowatt power plant at its base to feed electricity to Custom Alloy Corp., a pipe manufacturer just downstream.

    More details on the plant’s po tential for revenue are to be revealed at the meeting this week, said company spokesman Thomas Miezejeski.

    “We feel we have the best proposal, and want to do this,” said Miezejeski, who is advancing the concept along with Alex Cocoziello, with the backing of Advance Realty Group, the Bedminster-based commercial real estate development company founded by Cocoziello’s cousin, Peter, in 1979.

    Another firm that has pitched a concept for generating hydropower is Hoboken Brownstone Co., a real estate firm.

    That company’s proposal is still “in the mix,” Councilman Brenden Coughlin said.

    “With the price of energy, it’s a good thing to do,” Coughlin said. “We’re looking for them to cover payments due on a loan (from the state to fix the dam) to save taxpayers the burden.”

    The borough used state Green Acres funding to acquire the 35-acre lake and the 42-foot-high dam in 2001.

    Four years later, the state told the borough it needed to bring the dam up to current standards, or else remove it and let the waters of the South Branch of the Raritan River run free. Borough officials are still exploring both options.

    Some nature lovers see the free- flowing waters of a stream as more environmentally friendly than a wall holding back waters.

    “Frankly, my dear, we don’t want a dam,” said Jeff Tittel, direc tor of the New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club. “We shouldn’t dam up rivers just to generate power. Breaching it is better for the environment. Free-flowing streams are cleaner.”

    Carl Monn, a member of the High Bridge Historical Society, agrees that breaching is the way to go.

    “It’s full of silt,” he said. “If you keep it the way it is, the liability the town would have to incur is astronomical, especially if someone got stuck swimming in the silt. It’s outlived its usefulness.”

    Other vocal entities in the community, including the Union Forge Heritage Association, look at the dam’s historical significance as a reason to repair it. Built in 1909 to provide hydropower to the old Tay lor-Wharton Iron and Steel Co., the dam is the last known remaining New Jersey example of one with an I-beam construction.

    There are costs and benefits to hydropower, according to Matthew Larsen, associate director for water at the U.S. Geological Survey, a Reston, Va.-based multi-discipli nary science organization dedicated to providing impartial information on natural resources.

    A benefit is that hydroelectric power does not generate atmospheric emissions, Larsen said, and a disadvantage is that it requires a dam, which blocks the migration of aquatic life.

    Cathy Bugman may be reached at cbugman@starledger.com or (908) 429-9925.

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