Developer seeks to bury utilities

Developers of Park Square are hoping to bury utilities instead of stringing wires across Elizabeth Avenue the old-fashioned way.

City Administrator/Redevelopment Director Peter Pelissier told the Redevelopment Agency last week that he met with representatives of the Park Square project who asked that the agency intercede and meet with PSE&G.

“We are redeveloping downtown,” said Pelissier, who seemed to prefer underground utilities versus “unsightly wires, poles that are in the way, or could come down in ice storms.” He suggested PSE&G doesn’t want to bury utilities because it’s cheaper to put up poles. “We want to meet with them.”

Redevelopment Agency Commissioner Timothy Nash questioned whether developers have expressed a willingness to pay for the work, which Pelissier said they had not yet.

During the course of $4-million downtown renovations in 2000, the City of Summit opted to keep utilities buried (which it initially did in 1925!), with some of the cost picked up by various state and county grants and no-interest loans. There were some issues with underground fires one summer — as was the case in Morristown as well — which eventually was remediated by the power company serving Summit.

As brickwork continues on the first structure (photo above), Pelissier reported that Park Square has submitted plans for the second building in the development, which is waiting for approval on permits.