Dennis Library renovations to proceed

NEWTON. A state grant of about $1.6 million will help fund the repairs.

Newton /
| 09 Jul 2024 | 12:42

The state has approved changes in plans for renovating the Dennis Library in Newton, Jill Space, director of the Sussex County Board of County Commissioners, said at the June 26 meeting.

A state grant of about $1.6 million will help fund the repairs.

Next, Sussex County will take ownership of the library, then seek bids from contractors to do the work.

For the past year, residents have been urging the board to improve the library, which is not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The commissioners board last year delayed accepting the Newton Library Association’s offer to take over the building for free because the estimated costs of renovations had skyrocketed.

On a related topic, Space said the Sussex County Library System is asking residents to complete a survey about library services, collections, programs and spaces. Go online to

Parking meters in garage

The board introduced an ordinance to put meters in the parking garage at 43-47 High St., Newton, next to the Sussex County Courthouse.

Parking fees would be 50 cents for each half-hour with a maximum of 10 hours. A parking pass for the hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. or 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. would cost $120 a month and must be paid for in advance for the entire year.

The ordinance also provides for two charging stations for electric vehicles in the garage. Two other parking spaces would be reserved for electric vehicles.

A public hearing and final vote on the ordinance was scheduled Wednesday, July 10.

Commissioner Chris Carney pointed out that the garage needs repairs estimated to cost $3 million in the next 10 years.

”Installing these parking meters basically is charging the people who are parking there instead of the taxpayer. So if you don’t use it, you’re not paying for it,” he said.

The commissioners appointed Mario Poggi of Sussex Borough as a member of the board of commissioners of the Sussex County Municipal Utilities Authority. He would receive $3,700 a year for a term ending Jan. 31, 2025.

The board also approve a resolution strongly opposing a proposal by the Delaware River National Park and Lenape Preserve Alliance to change the designation of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area to a national park and preserve.

Agritourism effort

Commissioner Jack DeGroot said Sussex, Warren and Hunterdon county officials are working on an initiative to promote farms and agritourism businesses.

“This collaboration aims to showcase the beauty and value of our northwestern New Jersey corner to the rest of the state,” he said.

The project would promote destinations along County Route 519, which goes through the three counties. It is based on the successful Hunterdon 579 Trail.

Funding may be available from the Highlands Council.

Commissioner Earl Schick reported that Sussex County Community College (SCCC) plans to start a Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program.

In addition, SCCC will launch a program called “8 Keys to Success” for veterans in September.

SCCC and the Public Safety Training Academy there plan to host a First-Responders Day to help local fire departments and ambulance squads recruit volunteers.

The college offers discounts to beneficiaries of deceased veterans, and it has an emergency relief fund for veterans who are students who have financial problems, he said.

Carney reported that gas mains will be installed along County Route 517 in Andover. Construction is expected to be finished in September.

Also, an all-way stop intersection has been created at County Route 517 and Lake Pochung Road in Vernon, he said.

Space, Schick and DeGroot attended the county’s Senior Olympics on June 26 at Maple Grange Park in Vernon.

“It was amazing to see all the seniors come out to participate especially in this heat,” Schick said.

Teams represented Hopatcong, Sparta, Vernon, Hardyston, Montague and the Sussex County YMCA.

Commissioner Bill Hayden was absent from the meeting.