What may turn out to be a time capsule was found in the cornerstone of the former Taylor Memorial Baptist Church in Avon.
Borough Administrator Timothy M. Gallagher said there were rumors that a time capsule was buried at the church, which was built in 1886 and rededicated in 1927. No time capsule was found as the church was demolished and the ground excavated. The cornerstone was moved around the property several times as work continued. Gallagher said the cornerstone was then taken to the borough’s public works yard for cleaning before being placed on public display.
In the process of chipping away at excess cement, workers discovered a lead box slightly larger than a brick inside the cornerstone. The box is welded shut.
Gallagher suggested at this week’s Board of Commissioners meeting that the box be opened at a public event. Meanwhile, he said, the container is securely sealed and the mystery surrounding it will continue.
The borough acquired the Sylvania Avenue church after efforts to sell it failed. So far, Avon has spent $1.2 million to buy the property and demolish the church. The lot was split in two. One of the parcels contains the home of the former minister.
An auction for the two lots will take place on Dec. 8 at the Avon Marina. The minimum bid for the parsonage will be $750,000 and $675,000 for the vacant land. An open house will be held on Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m.
“Our goal was to break even,” said Commissioner Robert Mahon. “We’re confident that we will get our money back and add two ratables to the tax roll.”
Gallagher said the house has also been shown on request. He said one potential buyer offered to write a check for $750,000 on the spot. The properties are listed on the Multiple Listing Service. The lots will be auctioned separately. A bid package is available at the municipal building for $25.
The borough administrator said he expected action to be taken at the next meeting on updating the rules and regulations for the marina. The changes are aimed at increasing the number of slip leases during the 2017 boating season. The commissioners are also considering extending the marina and created more slips.
Scottie Franklin, owner of the nearby Main One Marina, said that increasing the number of boats moored at the municipal marina would be good for her repair business. But she expressed concern over navigational issues. Boats leaving the Main One Marina must negotiate a narrow space and Franklin said that visibility could be an issue if the botough marina is extended further into the river.
The commissioners have not yet decided whether to proceed with the marina expansion.
Police Chief Terry Mahon says he expects to have a full contingent of special officers to work in the borough next summer, despite losing two Class II officers to jobs in Georgia and South Carolina.
“The southern states look at New Jersey police training as gold,” he said.
Borough Engineer Charles Rooney said he met with county officials recently at the beachfront to discuss the condition of the 1,800-foot municipal bulkhead.
Rooney said he will prepare a proposal for testing the steel sections of the bulkhead. He said electric current is used to measure the thickness of the steel. If the damage is not too severe, he said, metal plates may be welded to the bulkhead to extend its life. Rooney said the cost of the tests would be betwen $2,000 and $3,000.