Makeover unmasks chamber's wondersBack to 1896 elegance, plus air conditioningFriday, May 23, 2008By MEGAN DeMARCOJOURNAL STAFF WRITERWhen the renovation of the Jersey City City Council chamber is complete in the fall, council members and the public will get to experience the room just as it was in 1896 - with a few high-tech amenities.The renovation is intended to "make (the room) look and feel like the original room" but still "accommodate it for modern use," said architect Eric Holtermann, of Holt Morgan Russell Architects."This is a long overdue project," Mayor Jerramiah Healy said. "It's going to be a resplendent, beautiful old reception room."The walls of the new room will be painted light red, the original color, and the original stained glass panels in the domed ceiling will be cleaned and restored.Four chandeliers are undergoing restoration in Philadelphia and will hang from the ceiling, Holtermann said.Aesthetics aside, members of the council and the public alike will appreciate a feature that wasn't available in 1896 - air conditioning.The $1.9 million renovation began in January and some surprises have been uncovered, literally. Holtermann said beautiful recessed arches were discovered on the original side walls that had been obscured under layers of later renovations.In a back corner of the chamber, a decorative stencil was revealed on the wall as well, Holtermann said. The original stencil will be replicated on the walls in the finished room. He said the chamber had accumulated several layers of wall coverings from different renovations since the turn of the last century - including a carpet layer that was installed in the 1960s.The chamber had become a "hodgepodge of different styles," Holtermann said.The council chamber's new features will include a projector over the door pointed at a large screen in the front of the chamber. Each council member will also have a computer monitor with a touchpad. Modern lighting will be added.The project is on schedule and on budget, Holtermann said.Glenn Wrigley, chief architect for the city, said the project is funded by $1.6 million from the city's capital improvement funds and a $300,000 grant from the Hudson County Open Space, Recreation and Historic Preservation Trust Fund.
T, there are some rooms that still have the original details. I love the council chambers even thou it needs some work. It's a pretty building, and is open to the public. Many events go on at night and the weekends.
lived here since 2005!
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