The Governor's Getaway
From todays SL a little peek into the gov's house in the park, the actual paper hade some pics from inside, at least he payed for some upgrades out of his pocket. Hope they just weren't Jersey favors.
THE GOVERNOR'S GETAWAY
Corzine has taken to beach house so much, he's using his own money to fix it up
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
BY JOSH MARGOLIN
As governor, Jon Corzine gets full use of three prominent buildings: the historic Statehouse in Trenton, the stately governor's mansion in Princeton, and the secluded, state-owned beach house in Island Beach State Park.
The multimillionaire governor plans improvements to all three, at no expense to taxpayers.
Corzine wants to raise money to complete the long-stalled renovation of the governor's wing at the Statehouse. He personally has paid for a paint job at Drumthwacket, the governor's mansion. And most recently, he sprang for about $30,000 to refurbish and redecorate the beachfront retreat in Ocean County. The work was completed before the summer season.
"He felt that it was in need of some modest improvements, and this was his gift that will be enjoyed by future governors long after he is gone," Corzine spokesman An thony Coley said. "State money was not used to repair the governor's beach house."
The painted-shut windows are now open. The worn-out carpet is gone, replaced by freshly polished hardwood. There are new area rugs, two flat-screen TVs, new fur niture, deck sets, seat cushions, linens and lighting fixtures. A fresh coat of summery white was applied to the interior.
The governor, who has grown fond of the beach home, is now considering shelling out for a major structural renovation and expan sion of the two-story building.
Officially called the Governor's Ocean House, the expanded cedar- shingled Cape Cod has been the gubernatorial getaway since Robert Meyner held office half a century ago.
Camouflaged by the natural greenery that lines the main road into the park, the home is invisible to the casual beachgoer or fisherman.
"It's not garish," said state Parks and Forestry Director Jose Fernandez. "It's a dwelling that fits the character of the park."
The building, with five bedrooms and three bathrooms, also has a small room for the governor's security detail -- which got a new air conditioner, courtesy of Corzine.
Located behind a dune about 200 feet from the edge of the Atlantic, the structure was one of three built in the late 1920s by steel industrialist Henry Phipps, Fernan dez said.
Phipps owned much of the park and planned to sell off parts as "an exclusive summer resort," Fernan dez said.
"The Crash of'29 sort of killed the dream," Fernandez said, referring to the stock market collapse that launched the Great Depres sion.
For the next quarter-century, the three homes were used sporadically. In the 1950s, the state ac quired them along with land that eventually became a 10-mile-long, 3,002-acre beach and recreation site: Island Beach State Park in Seaside Park.
The other two homes are across the park, on Barnegat Bay, so they are much more protected from the elements. One houses the park's superintendent, and the other is used by guests of the governor.
The home reserved for the governor has "taken the battering straight from the ocean," Fernan dez said. "It's the one that needs the most attention."
Not all governors like the place. When he was governor last year, Senate President Richard Codey said, his wife persuaded him to take a few days off at the beach house. But Codey is most comfortable in Newark, Orange and West Orange. He didn't take to all that serenity.
"I still don't know what they're going to do with them green flies," Codey said. "Up in Essex County, we never heard of them suckers."
Codey, however, added: "I'm sure the future governors will be very appreciative" of Corzine's do nation.
Tom Wilson, the state Republican chairman who has worked for two of Corzine's predecessors, said the beach house is "definitely a nice perk" for governors.
"I just wish he were as sensitive to the appearance of using taxpayers' money when it came time to deal with the $300 million in pork he put in the (state) budget," Wil son said. "But I guess we should give him credit for not spending tax money to fix up his summer house."
Corzine also has plans for the Statehouse and Drumthwacket, which are more-public venues.
The governor privately has acknowledged the poor state of the 213-year-old governor's wing at the Statehouse and wants to embark on long-delayed reconstruction, es timated to cost about $90 million.
Corzine would not personally pay for this massive project. While details haven't been worked out, aides say he is likely to seek private donations. That was the strategy used by Gov. Christie Whitman to restore the Statehouse's signature gold dome a decade ago.
Corzine has spent his own money to repaint the private quarters at Drumthwacket off-white, and he may make some other out- of-pocket alterations to the official residence.
Gov. James E. McGreevey drew criticism when he renovated the private quarters at Drumthwacket.
That makeover was precipitated by the presence of lead paint, which posed a danger to McGreevey's newborn daughter. But the project cost nearly twice the original estimate at $590,000 and was funded through private tax-deductible donations, some of which came from state contractors, political appointees and well-heeled campaign contributors.
Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after
. ~Henry David Thoreau