Great news! The Hopewell Township Zoning Board has accepted our engineer’s calculations for coverage, increasing slightly the “footprint” we can build on. The next step will be to set up a meeting with the Delaware & Raritan Canal Commission for their review and approval. When we know what the acceptable impervious surface is, we can firm up design specifications with the architect. The more detailed drawings with plumbing, electrical etc. then go to the township building department for approval. Once approved we will engage a contractor. We are hopeful that we will begin construction summer of 2020.
In anticipation of having to move trees and shrubs prior to construction beginning, we did a walk-around of the property with representatives of Earth Ministry and the Grounds Committee. The current thoughts are that the main/front garden in front of the Minister’s office and the garden area to the left of the stairs would be replaced with new construction. Plants that will likely be transplanted within the church grounds include 2 mature Dogwoods, a Redbud, large Winterberry shrub, large Rhododendron, several Azaleas, and a large Viburnum Korean Spice. When seeking bidders for removal and transplanting, we will ask for advice on feasibility and survival factors. The Capital Campaign project will assume the costs of the large-scale tree/shrub removal and relocation. Hopefully volunteers will help us to transplant smaller garden plants such as the Iris, Coneflower, Lamb’s Ear and Liriope and several desirable native plants.
Grounds Committee and Earth Ministry are in the process of updating the map and database of memorial trees so we can be sure to address memorial trees with extra consideration relative to the capital construction. We will consider best relocation areas, giving priority to the new access and parking area berms which would benefit from supplemental native plantings. The goal will be to assure that utmost care will be taken to protect our plants as we make way for much needed improvements to our facility.
If you haven’t yet made a commitment to support the Capital Project, please consider doing so. Recall that our original “wish list” came with a $1.7 MM estimated price tag, and the goal we ultimately decided on (at the recommendation of our consultant) is $1.1 MM. We have $925,000 pledged so far. The higher our pledge commitments, the more “wish list” items we will be able to include in the renovation plans.
Susan Vigilante and Jayme Trott – Capital Campaign Project Co-chairs