Saddle Brook Eyes Shared Use of Fair Lawn Community Center
Fair Lawn and Saddle Brook are set to discuss a shared service agreement that would provide township residents access to the Fair Lawn Community Center.
Officials from Fair Lawn and Saddle Brook have engaged in shared service discussions on a multitude of issues in recent weeks, but none as potentially impactful to residents as a plan that would provide township residents access to the Fair Lawn Community Center.
Details of any potential arrangement have yet to be hammered out, but on its face, joint use of the community center should prove a boon for both towns.
Saddle Brook residents would gain access to much-needed recreational space and Fair Lawn would bring in revenue and appease folks who consider the $12-plus million community center an underutilized boondoggle.
Deputy Mayor John Cosgrove recently gave township officials a tour of the 42,000 square foot facility that left Saddle Brook Mayor Karen Chamberlain gushing over its potential application for township athletes and thespians.
“It’s dream rainbow for Saddle Brook," said Chamberlain, who's targeting use of the building for both recreation and the arts.
Chamberlain said she's longed for years to build a recreation center in Saddle Brook but that the lack of funding and usable space have prevented her dream from becoming reality.
“I’ve been involved with recreation for 25, 30 years and as close as we’ve come in those 30 years is Veterans Field to accommodating Saddle Brook recreation," she said.
Chamberlain, who has also tried unsuccessfully to establish arts programs in Saddle Brook, said she's particularly excited about the potential to make use of Fair Lawn's 170-seat theater.
"The stage setting is just like Broadway," she said. "They have the youth there that are interested in sound and lighting, and we, Saddle Brook, have the talent. We just don’t have the facilities."
Having received Fair Lawn council's consent Tuesday night to proceed with discussions, the borough manager is now authorized to hash out the specifics of the agreement, which have yet to be negotiated.
Chamberlain said she would like Saddle Brook residents to be afforded full access to the facility, which, in addition to a theater, contains a basketball court, fitness center, indoor walking track, arcade and game room, computer center and conference space.
"We want it all," she said. "That's my goal."