Blog

08 Jul
0

Ocean County Primary Results

CONGRATULATIONS GO OUT TO ALL OCEAN COUNTY REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES                                                    

President-      Donald J. Trump

US Senate –    Hirsch Singh 

District 2 –      Jeff Van Drew

District 3 –      David Richter

District 4 –      Chris Smith

OC Freeholder- Joseph H. Vicari

OC Clerk –        Scott M. Colabella

CONGRATULATIONS TO all of the municipal winning candidates in Ocean County, as well.

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04 Jul
0

CDBG FUNDS AVAILABLE TO NON-PROFITS TO FUND ACTIVITIES THAT PREVENT, PREPARE FOR AND/OR RESPOND TO COVID 19

Ocean County Freeholder Deputy Director Gary Quinn, who is liaison to the Ocean County Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, states “There are a number of non-profit organizations in Ocean County that can help our citizens through this difficult time with these funds.

“The deadline to apply for the funding is 4 p.m., Friday, July 10.

“I encourage our non-profits to take advantage of this opportunity,” Quinn said. “With so many of them doing great work already, I am sure this financial help will assist tremendously their ongoing efforts.”

The funding guidelines and application can be found on the Ocean County Planning Department’s website at http://www.planning.co.ocean.nj.us/frmCECommDev.

Under the federal government CARES Act, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has allocated $820,810 in CDBG-CV funds to Ocean County to be used to prevent, prepare for and/or respond to the COVID-19 public health crisis. The County requested a waiver to use the funds specifically for grants to non-profits.

“We appreciate the efforts of President Trump and our Congressional delegation in securing this money for our non-profit organizations in Ocean County,” Quinn said. “Without these agencies, many of our citizens would be without the necessities and the care they need during this pandemic.”

In order to provide the funds to Ocean County non-profits, the County has prepared a substantial amendment to the Fiscal Year 2019 Annual Action Plan to make CDBG-CV funds available to qualified non-profit 501(c)(3) agencies serving Ocean County residents to support a variety of eligible public service activities.

The CDBG-CV funds will be able to support a variety of activities including but not limited to:

• Public service activities such as senior services, food provision, emergency assistance, homelessness prevention, childcare, health, drug abuse, domestic violence services, among others.

• Public service activities such as providing COVID-19 testing and diagnosis services at a fixed or mobile location.

• Public facilities and improvement projects that directly contribute to addressing COVID-19 related issues. This includes equipment and other property needed for the public service, labor, supplies and material to operate and/or maintain the portion of a facility in which the public service is located.

• Public facilities improvement projects such as rehabilitating a community facility to establish a COVID-19 testing/treatment clinic.

• Temporary emergency rental assistance for eligible households (up to 3 months).

• Other eligible activities that directly prevent prepare and respond to COVID-19.

Successful grant recipients will be based on meeting all eligibility criteria as outlined in the grant application.

“Non-profit agencies have extended a lifeline to many of our residents, especially our most frail and vulnerable senior and disabled residents during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari, who is Chairman of Senior Services. “I am pleased we can assist in administering these grant funds. The many services that can be funded make an important difference for so many of our citizens.”

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04 Jul
0

TESTING FOR ASYMPTOMATIC RESIDENTS AT OCEAN COUNTY COLLEGE IS NOW AVAILABLE

Residents who are not showing symptoms of COVID 19 can now be tested at the coronavirus drive thru test site at Ocean County College, Toms River.

Testing will continue to be offered from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, by appointment, but starting July 6 you can be asymptomatic and have a test done at the OCC site. “We are now providing tests to asymptomatic residents in order to increase testing opportunities in the community,” said Ocean County Public Health Coordinator Daniel Regenye. “Up until now the drive thru site at OCC and some other independent testing sites in the County required a person to be showing symptoms and to have a script from a healthcare practitioner. “We will no longer be requiring this at the college drive thru, however appointments are still required,” Regenye said.

To date, 5,406 coronavirus tests have been performed at the college testing site. “This site has been the result of a successful partnership with the college, our area hospitals, Sheriff Michael Mastronardy and the Ocean County Office of Emergency Management, the Ocean County Health Department and a host of other collaborators who have come together to make this work for our citizens,” said Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari. “By opening it up to people that are asymptomatic we are increasing the number of people that can be tested in the County.”

To schedule an appointment for a test Ocean County residents can visit the Ocean County Health Department website at www.ochd.org. If residents have any questions, they can call the Health Department at 732-341-9700, Ext. 7411. Proof of residency will be required. Emergency responders who do not work in the County but live in the county can also access testing at the site. “We want to make certain all of our emergency responders can be tested promptly if they have been exposed or are showing symptoms of the virus,” Vicari said. “They can easily access the site at OCC by calling the Health Department.”

Regenye noted there are other locations and testing sites for asymptomatic people that have opened throughout the state with some located in Ocean County. Two websites providing this information are: https://covid19.nj.gov/pages/testing and https://covid19.nj.gov/pages/testing#test-sites.

Partners in the testing site at OCC include U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the Ocean County Office of Emergency Management under Sheriff Michael G. Mastronardy, the Ocean County Health Department, RWJ Barnabas Health Southern Region and Hackensack Meridian Health and Ocean County College. “Residents remain in their cars and medical personnel perform a nasal swab at the OCC site,” said Ocean County Freeholder Gerry P. Little, who is liaison to the Ocean County Health Department.

“We are working to make this convenient and more importantly safe for the public, the health care providers on site and staff.” As of July 1, Ocean County has recorded 9,627 cases of the coronavirus. Once the test has been performed, it’s anticipated to take about three to five days for results to be returned. “All the results will be available on the BioReference Laboratories Patient Portal: Bioreference.com/patients/ and through the Ocean County Health Department residents will be notified whether they test positive or negative,” Regenye said.

The most common symptoms of COVID 19 are fever, fatigue, a dry cough and shortness of breath. Ocean County has also established a process to ensure that people with test results are informed in a timely manner and provided with guidance, consultation and next steps.

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04 Jul
0

From the Desk of Ocean County Freeholder Director Joesph H. Vicari

FREEHOLDERS AGAIN CALL ON TRENTON TO REINSTATE THE HOMESTEAD REBATE AND PROPERTY TAX REIMBURSEMENT PROGRAM FOR SENIORS

TOMS RIVER – The Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders simply will not take no for an answer.

The Board on July 1 unanimously passed another resolution calling on Gov. Phil Murphy and the State Legislature to immediately reinstate two vital senior citizen tax relief programs.

“Both the Property Tax Reimbursement Program and the Homestead Rebate need to be priorities in the state budget and must be returned to our seniors as soon as possible,” said Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari. “Trenton cannot balance the budget on the backs of our senior citizens,” Vicari said.

Earlier this month Vicari made an impassioned plea to the governor not to cut these vital programs.

“Our most vulnerable and frailest residents have been greatly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic,” Vicari said. “Counties and municipalities have worked hand in hand to provide as much assistance as possible to help them through this time. This proposed action by the state will be a detriment to the people who have been affected the most.”

The Freeholder’s resolution also asks the county’s legislators and mayors to join the fight and protest the elimination of these programs.

Noting that about 60,000 local seniors could be impacted by these cuts, Vicari said the impact would be especially devastating in Ocean County.

“The effect on Ocean County will be disproportionate from the rest of the state because we have the largest senior population in the state,” Vicari said. “Now is not the time to introduce this change.”

According to the Elder Economic Security Standard, the average Social Security benefit provides an elderly person living alone in Ocean County only 54 to 76 percent of the amount needed to cover basic expenses. Moreover, elders in Ocean County living alone on an income equivalent to the federal poverty guideline can cover only 36 to 51 percent of their basic living expenses.

“When your monthly income is no more than $1,400 from Social Security, taking away these programs will only increase the severe financial hardship already experienced by this vulnerable population,” Vicari said. “Simply put, our seniors depend on these state programs. They are a necessity.”

The Murphy Administration already eliminated the Homestead Benefit credit from property tax bills that were due on May 1st, forcing homeowners to pay more and has now created an uncertain future for the valuable tax credit, Vicari said.

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01 Jul
0

NJEDA Grant Application of Small Businesses and Non-Profits has been extended

THE DEADLINE for small businesses and non-profits in Ocean County affected by the coronavirus pandemic to apply for a grant has been extended to 5 p.m., July 8.

“The extension will provide additional time to our small businesses and non-profits interested in applying and will help maximize the use of the funds provided for this program,” said Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari. The original deadline was June 30.

Ocean County recently announced its partnership with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) to provide $10 million in grants to small businesses in Ocean County affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Our small businesses are truly the heart and soul of our communities. I am hopeful these grants can be of some help to the business owners that have been so negatively affected by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Vicari, who is liaison to tourism and business development. “This $10 million in grants is exclusive for Ocean County businesses, in addition to the $45 million in grant money available to all state businesses from the NJEDA.”

The grants are part of Phase 2 of the Authority’s Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program. The Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders approved a Memorandum of Agreement entering into the partnership on June 16.

Ocean County is providing the funds from the money received through the federal CARES Act with the intent that the NJEDA distribute them only to businesses located in Ocean County. Business owners can apply for funding at https://forms.business.nj.gov/grant-2/.

“Maximizing resources is more critical than ever as we work to support the recovery of COVID-19 impacted businesses in a manner that aligns with Governor Phil Murphy’s efforts toward achieving a stronger and fairer New Jersey economy,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “The addition of the Ocean County funds to the NJEDA’s grant program will help us to get much needed funding to vastly more Ocean County COVID-impacted businesses in a timely and efficient manner.”

The county grant program has been established for businesses and non-profits with fewer than 25 employees to apply for the grant, on a first come, first serve basis. The application is live and available at https://forms.business.nj.gov/grant-2/.

“The Ocean County business community faces some unique challenges related to tourism and hospitality representing such a high percentage of its economic activity,” said Vicari, who is liaison to tourism and business development. “These businesses were hit earliest and hardest by the pandemic and these grants will help to sustain them as we enter the busy summer season.

“Unlike other areas of the state, many of our businesses rely solely on the summer season so instead of 52 weeks our businesses are looking at 12 weeks,” Vicari said. “Summer tourism businesses also help to employ thousands of people from high school students to our seniors.

“This Board of Freeholders thanks President Trump and the Ocean County Congressional delegation for approving the CARES Act funding and as a result for helping these businesses with grants,” he said.

Eligibility for the grant program was recently expanded to include all types of 501(c) non-profit organizations to apply for funding under the second phase of the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program. This includes veterans’ organizations and membership-based business and industry groups. Only 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4), 501(c)(7) organizations were eligible in Phase 1.

The NJEDA launched the first round of the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program on April 3 with $5 million in NJEDA funds. This phase provided grants up to $5,000 to a precisely targeted subset of businesses that had been hit particularly hard by the Coronavirus outbreak. Phase 2 of the program provides grants up to $10,000 to a significantly expanded variety of businesses and nonprofits with up to 25 full-time employees, including sole proprietorships and home-based businesses, which were excluded from Phase 1. To ensure equitable access for businesses in economically disadvantaged communities, one-third of Phase 2 funding is reserved for businesses in census tracts that were eligible to be designated as Opportunity Zones.

“I want to encourage our small businesses to take advantage of this opportunity. I believe the extended deadline will be a benefit,” Vicari said. “We are working to help our small businesses that have been dramatically impacted financially by closures from the coronavirus.

“Their economic health is the county’s economic health,” Vicari said.

Vicari said tourism is a $5 billion business in Ocean County.

“It’s one of our biggest economic engines and our small businesses play an integral role in its success,” Vicari said.

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30 Jun
0

OCEAN COUNTY – JOHN C. BARTLETT JR. COUNTY PARK – BERKELEY ISLAND TO REOPEN

“I am happy to announce the reopening of these popular attractions at our Ocean County Parks to visitors,” said Ocean County Freeholder Virginia E. Haines, who serves as chairwoman of the Ocean County Department of Parks and Recreation. “We will continue to have restrictions in place as per Governor Murphy’s executive order.

The spray park at the John C. Bartlett Jr. County Park will reopen on July 2nd. Playgrounds located at 14 other Ocean County Parks will also reopen.

“It’s important for all of us to continue to do our part in curtailing the spread of the coronavirus even while enjoying the outdoors at the spray park and the playgrounds,” Haines said.

The spray park at the John C. Bartlett Jr. County Park in Berkeley Township will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Park employees will be on site to monitor and assist with the number of patrons using the spray park at one time. The spray park will have one way in and out and there will be time limits in order to give everyone an opportunity to enjoy the spray park. All park equipment at the spray park and at the playgrounds will be sanitized daily.

“It’s important to observe social distancing rules and to wear a mask when using these facilities and especially when you are around other people,” Haines said. “The spray park and the playgrounds are very popular with our residents and visitors, particularly children, and while we want the experience to be enjoyable it’s imperative that it’s also safe for everyone including park department staff.”

Ocean County began to gradually reopen its parks beginning May 2 following guidelines from the state and health experts. By May 22 all Ocean County parks, including off-leash dog parks, had been reopened to the public.

Bathroom facilities are available at all County park sites and visitors using them must be wearing a face covering. Face coverings are strongly recommended when accessing the dog parks at Ocean County Airpark in Berkeley Township and Ocean County Park, Lakewood and all of the parks in the county system.

The nature centers at Cattus Island County Park, Toms River, Jakes Branch County Park, Beachwood and Wells Mills County Park, Waretown, remain closed to the public system.

“We are pleased to be opening our playgrounds and spray park so our residents can enjoy them all again,” Haines said. “Each of our parks offers unique features and a great opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty Ocean County has to offer.”

For further details about the Ocean County Parks System please visit: Ocean County website – www.ocean.nj.us/home

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30 Jun
0

From the Desk of Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari

2020 OCEAN COUNTY

SENIOR SERVICES RESOURCE DIRECTORY

IS NOW AVAILABLE

The Office of Senior Services serves as a focal point that older adults and their families can turn to for information and assistance regarding programs and services,” said Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari, Chairman of Senior Services. “Our mission is to lead the way in advancing the well-being of older adults.”

“Ocean County is home to the largest senior population in the state,” said Vicari. “With more than 173,000 seniors calling Ocean County home, it is a priority of the Board of Freeholders to provide programs and services that will help them remain independent so they can enjoy a good quality of life here.”

Recently updated, this handy directory includes information on a host of programs and services geared to assist seniors living in Ocean County. The resource directory provides at a glance senior services programs, and contact information as well as a service index.

The resource directory can be accessed online, or mailed to anyone requesting it,” Vicari said.

The goals of the Office of Senior Services include improving access to services, promoting healthy aging, fostering greater independence for frail older adults, supporting family caregivers, and advocating for older adults at the federal, state and local level.

The department administers a comprehensive system of community based services including transportation, options counseling and care management; community support such as education, recreation, physical and mental health screenings, physical fitness, legal assistance; home support such as friendly visitor, residential maintenance, certified home health aides; nutrition support such as congregate meals and home delivered meals; and caregiver support such as respite, caregiver counseling, caregiver support groups and in-home education and support.

Some services featured within the resource directory are: the PAAD Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled; educational programs such as adult education classes at Ocean County Vocational Technical schools and Ocean County College, Toms River; employment assistance such as the National Council on Aging (NCOA) Senior Employment Program; health services such as the Ocean County Health Department among others; counseling such as the Senior Guidance Program; hospital locations; insurance in regards to Medicare; senior, community and recreation centers found in Ocean County; and transportation such as Ocean Ride.

To obtain a copy of the Senior Services Resource Directory, send an email to gaddiego@co.ocean.nj.us or call the Ocean County Office of Senior Services at 732-929-2091.

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26 Jun
0

Ocean County Freeholder Deputy Director Gary Quinn Announces the County’s 2020 Residential Document Shredding Program is Back

Ocean County’s 2020 Residential Document Shredding Program is scheduled to begin on July 11 with its first stop in Stafford Township.

“Although it is kicking off later than normal due to COVID-19, we are happy to have the opportunity to host our free document shredding program again this year,” said Ocean County Freeholder Deputy Director Gary Quinn, who serves as liaison to the Ocean County Department of Solid Waste Management. “This is a program that is good for the environment, eliminates household clutter and provides a layer of security needed to protect our neighbors and families from identity theft.”

The 2020 event includes 16 locations and will be serviced by IDSAutoshred from Toms River.

The following is a list of dates, locations and times:

• July 11 – Stafford Township, 379 Haywood Road, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• July 18 – Bay Head Borough, 214 Park Ave., 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

• July 24 – Lakewood Township, 1 America Ave., 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• July 31 – Toms River Township, 250 Riverwood Drive, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• Aug. 1 – Point Pleasant Borough, 2300 Panther Path, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• Aug. 8 – Barnegat Township, 900 West Bay Ave., 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• Aug. 15 – Lakehurst Township, 800 Myrtle St., 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• Aug. 22 – Manchester Township, 101 S. Colonial Drive, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• Aug. 29 – Brick Township, 836 Ridge Road, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• Sept. 12 – Ship Bottom Borough, W 10th St. and Shore Ave., 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

• Sept. 19 – Ocean Township, 50 Railroad Ave., 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• Sept. 26 – Beachwood, 1600 Pinewald Road, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• Oct. 3 – Berkeley Township, 630 Pinewald Keswick Road, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• Oct. 10 – Eagleswood Township, 146 Division St., 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• Oct. 17 – Lacey Township, 820 Municipal Lane, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• Oct. 24 – Jackson Township, 95 West Veterans Highway, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Shredding events will run their full scheduled time or until the truck is full. The truck has a capacity to hold 10,000 pounds of paper.

“Last year we recycled almost 120 tons of residential documents with this program,” said Quinn. “That is in addition to all the paper that goes to our recycling centers.”

The program is for all paper documents and paper forms; paper clips and staples need not be removed. Unacceptable items include x-rays, CDs, floppy disks, microfilm, and file folders.

Appointments and registration are not necessary for this program, and residents are limited to six boxes or bags of documents per vehicle.

In addition, residents will be asked to stay in their vehicle with the windows up, with a face covering on at all times (if medically able). Documents should be in the trunk or truck bed to be removed from the vehicles by workers and then confidentially shredded via a secure shred truck.

The shredding program is a free program sponsored by the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders and overseen by the Ocean County Department of Solid Waste Management.

The program is for Ocean County residents only; commercial documents will not be accepted.

For residents who prefer to shred at home, shredded office paper should not be placed with curbside recyclables, and should instead be brought to the drop-off boxes (near Building 105 at the Southern Recycling Center in Stafford Township or Building 68 at the Northern Recycling Center in Lakewood) for recycling. Shredded paper cannot be effectively sorted by the County’s Recyclable Materials Processing Facility and therefore needs to be recycled separately in order to produce a viable, marketable commodity.

“Ocean County offers a number of programs to make recycling convenient,” said Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari. “Recycling helps to save landfill space and protects the environment. We encourage our citizens to take advantage of the programs offered and to help make a difference in preserving our natural resources.”

For more information on programs available, visit http://www.co.ocean.nj.us/OC/SolidWaste/ or @OCSWM on Facebook.

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24 Jun
0

From the Desk of Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari

Ocean County to Help Small Businesses with Grants under partnership with NJEDA

OCEAN COUNTY has partnered with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) to provide $10 million in grants to small businesses in Ocean County affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are pleased to be able to provide this funding to our businesses here in Ocean County,” said Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari. “Our small businesses are truly the heart and soul of our communities. I am hopeful these grants can be of some help to the business owners that have been so negatively affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

“By working with the NJEDA to administer these grants, the process will be business friendly and we will get this money dispersed in a timely manner so it will help during these very challenging times,” Vicari said. “This $10 million in grants is exclusive for Ocean County businesses, in addition to the $45 million in grant money available to all state businesses from the NJEDA.”

The grants are part of Phase 2 of the Authority’s Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program. The Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders approved a Memorandum of Agreement entering into the partnership on June 16.

Ocean County is providing the funds from the money received through the federal CARES Act with the intent that the NJEDA distribute them only to businesses located in Ocean County. Business owners can apply for funding at https://forms.business.nj.gov/grant-2/.

“Maximizing resources is more critical than ever as we work to support the recovery of COVID-19 impacted businesses in a manner that aligns with Governor Phil Murphy’s efforts toward achieving a stronger and fairer New Jersey economy,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “The addition of the Ocean County funds to the NJEDA’s grant program will help us to get much needed funding to vastly more Ocean County COVID-impacted businesses in a timely and efficient manner.”

The county grant program has been established for businesses and non-profits with fewer than 25 employees to apply for the grant, on a first come, first serve basis. The application is live and available at https://forms.business.nj.gov/grant-2/. Applications are due by June 30.

“The Ocean County business community faces some unique challenges related to tourism and hospitality representing such a high percentage of its economic activity,” said Vicari, who is liaison to tourism and business development. “These businesses were hit earliest and hardest by the pandemic and these grants will help to sustain them as we enter the busy summer season.

“Unlike other areas of the state, many of our businesses rely solely on the summer season so instead of 52 weeks our businesses are looking at 12 weeks,” Vicari said. “Summer tourism businesses also help to employ thousands of people from high school students to our seniors.

“This Board of Freeholders thanks President Trump and the Ocean County Congressional delegation for approving the CARES Act funding and as a result for helping these businesses with grants,” he said.

Eligibility for the grant program was recently expanded to include all types of 501(c) non-profit organizations to apply for funding under the second phase of the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program. This includes veterans organizations and membership-based business and industry groups. Only 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4), 501(c)(7) organizations were eligible in Phase 1.

The NJEDA launched the first round of the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program on April 3 with $5 million in NJEDA funds. This phase provided grants up to $5,000 to a precisely targeted subset of businesses that had been hit particularly hard by the Coronavirus outbreak. Phase 2 of the program provides grants up to $10,000 to a significantly expanded variety of businesses and nonprofits with up to 25 full-time employees, including sole proprietorships and home-based businesses, which were excluded from Phase 1. To ensure equitable access for businesses in economically disadvantaged communities, one-third of Phase 2 funding is reserved for businesses in census tracts that were eligible to be designated as Opportunity Zones.

“I want to encourage our small businesses to take advantage of this opportunity,” Vicari said. “We are working to help our small businesses that have been dramatically impacted financially by closures from the coronavirus.

“Their economic health is the county’s economic health,” Vicari said.

Vicari said tourism is a $5 billion business in Ocean County.

“It’s one of our biggest economic engines and our small businesses play an integral role in its success,” Vicari said.

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19 Jun
0

From the Desk of Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari

NJ DOT – Reconsider the widening of Route 9 from Lakewood to Toms River

OCEAN COUNTY officials say recent notification that Route 9 from Lakewood to Toms River will not be widened needs to immediately be reconsidered by the state Department of Transportation.

“We cannot believe that even after the completion of a study of this area of Route 9 clearly shows widening will greatly improve safety and traffic flow on this road – a major corridor in Ocean County – we have again been told by the state it’s not going to happen,” said Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari. “We are calling on the NJDOT to fund the major improvement project as this is the help we need to bring this important corridor into the current century.”

The Board of Chosen Freeholders adopted a resolution at its June 17 Board meeting calling on the state to reconsider its decision and move ahead with the reconstruction and widening of this highway which remains mostly one lane north and one lane south.

“The major improvements including widening the road and adding new lanes, is the work that is necessary to upgrade the Route 9 corridor to finally meet the needs of the fastest growing areas of Ocean County,” said Ocean County Freeholder John P. Kelly, who is liaison to the Ocean County Engineering Department. “Clearly abandoning the larger scope of this proposal does nothing but exacerbate further a critical transportation problem that is being experienced daily on this roadway.”

The state is proposing to do pavement upgrades and some low cost, high impact intersection improvements to the corridor.

“This amounts to nothing short of basic maintenance for this road and should have been done all along,” Kelly said.

Other than Route 9, motorists in Ocean County have the Garden State Parkway for north south travel use including for work, medical appointments and public safety evacuations. However, Route 9 provides access to all local roads and is the most heavily used corridor in Ocean County.

“Route 9 in Ocean County has not been widened or drastically improved since the days of the stagecoach,” Vicari said. “This particular area – between Lakewood and Toms River – is our fastest growing area and the decision to not do the major widening improvements creates nothing more than additional hazards brought on by unprecedented congestion all filtered into two lanes – one north, one south.

“Our continuing requests to improve a major highway in Ocean County are not unreasonable and yet they continue to be unheard by the state agencies charged with overseeing the maintenance of this roadway,” he said. “Whereas the state of New Jersey appears perfectly content with taking the hard earned money of Ocean County motorists and commuters through its toll hike increases, gas taxes and the like, it cannot seem to help Ocean County by providing major improvements to the state’s badly maintained and often fraught with safety concerns corridor.”

Ocean County officials say there is a growing concern of what the future will hold for this area without major improvements to Route 9.

“Ocean County can no longer wait for these types of improvements to come to Route 9,” Vicari said. “The continuing growth, the congestion, the accidents, will not wait for the state to finally decide that keeping Ocean County drivers and pedestrians safe on this road should be considered a priority.”

Ocean County is calling upon the DOT to reconsider its decision and is strongly urging the support of the state legislators representing Ocean County to petition the DOT to get this project underway.

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