SOUTH TOMS RIVER – Whenever new construction is going on in town, it draws people’s attention. If you’ve ever been at the intersection with the Rite Aid in South Toms River, or driven in that area, you have seen a large steel structure going up off of Route 9. It will soon be the home of a dance studio.
Flint Road is the name of the street that swoops in close to Route 9. There’s a lawn care place and a recycling spot between the two roads. Flint meets Admiral Avenue at a tricky intersection near Rite Aid. Then, it curves through South Toms River along a curious route: You’ll see large houses, beautiful views of waterways that lead to the Toms River, and industrial and commercial properties.
And soon, it will be home to The Dance Centre. Sound familiar? It’s the same place that’s in the shopping plaza across the street by the marina and the ice cream shop.
Sheri Daknis said her parents started the business in 1982 in that location. They retired four years ago. Daknis, who is a nurse and a dance instructor, took it on. “I’ve been a nurse for 25 years but I’ve taught dance all my life,” she said.
Since they had been paying rent in that facility for almost 40 years, she decided it was time to have a building of their own. The studio will increase from 3,500 square feet to 7,500 square feet. They will go from three to five studios.
People driving by have probably noticed that the framework of the new building is very tall. The reason for this is that they will be expanding their circus arts program, which includes tumbling, trapeze, and some aerial work.
“The program has outgrown our ceiling height,” she said.
They are hoping to be in the new building by Nov. 1 or the new year, she said.
The timing of the move has not been ideal, she said. It’s hard to get a big project like this moving when COVID-19 has slowed down almost every industry – including construction. The borough of South Toms River has been very accommodating and helpful in their construction.
Joseph Kostecki, the borough’s clerk and administrator, said that Flint Road is currently zoned as commercial-residential. He was asked if the borough has plans to expand with more commercial, or to go with residential. It’s a county road, so the borough doesn’t really have as many options, he said.
The Barnegat Branch rail trail will be going along Rt.166 (Rt. 9), he said. This is a walking/biking trail starting in Barnegat and leading to Toms River, about 16 miles. The Rt.166 Redevelopment Plan lists Flint Road as an overlay zone.