LONGPORT — Pleased that the new Public Library is a success, borough officials would like to see the space expanded to the patio area outside the library. There’s one hitch though. The state Department of Corrections would have to approve it.
“There are some law enforcement concerns with prisoner transport,” Mayor Nicholas Russo said at the Sept. 7 work session.
On the bay side of the concrete patio is a door used when prisoners are brought into the building for court appearances.
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According to library Director Ricky Gerhardt, the library would like to put tables and chairs on the patio, and perhaps establish a reading area or conduct social programs there. The library has used the space for a summertime ice cream social and a jazz band performance during the library’s grand opening.
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Gerhardt said he would like to see the space enclosed as a three-season room.
Engineer Richard Carter said he would like to draw up some conceptual plans and send it to the state to see if it would be acceptable. Putting in a three-season room is easily accomplished, he said, but a more elaborate expansion would require the city abide by building codes.
The DOC reviews architectural drawing and does site visits and inspections.
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According to state regulations, a sallyport area should provide safe transport for prisoners and include audio-visual equipment, an emergency alarm and interlocking doors.
The DOC currently offers the borough certain exemptions from strict regulations regarding prisoner transport, Carter said.
“Losing our exemptions could be expensive to correct,” he said.