By Monmouth County Freeholder Tom Arnone
Summer is in full swing and I hope everyone is out there enjoying the beautiful weather we’ve been having. An annual tradition here in Monmouth County is the County Fair. The 41st Monmouth County Fair was a huge success with thousands of residents attending over the five days it was held at the East Freehold Fairgrounds on Kozloski Road.
Monmouth County is the gateway to the Jersey Shore, and you will find more than 50 miles of beaches, revolutionary history sites, nationally recognized parks and golf courses, outdoor dining experiences for all tastes and plenty of places to spend the night. The Monmouth Park System offers over 30 park areas to explore, please go out and enjoy all our beautiful county has to offer.
While we are on the topic of outdoor activities you can enjoy throughout our County, I would like to take a moment to address several concerns within different regions, including the Shark River dredging and the two-river area bike path.
First I am very pleased to announce that on Thursday, July 16, the Request For Proposals (RFP) to receive bids for the Shark River Dredging project was sent out, on schedule. Most recently, Friday, was another huge day in progression of the project as a mandatory pre-bid meeting for NJDOT qualified dredgers took place in Belmar Borough, where seven very interested companies attended. Only bidders that are qualified to submit a bid were allowed to ask questions, and the discussion was technical in nature, related solely to information provided within the bid. The purpose of this meeting was to explain the NJDOT procurement process and project specification related questions.
In addition, Senator Jennifer Beck and myself, as well as Neptune Township Committeeman Randy Bishop, who has been very involved in the project from its inception, recently met with the residents of Seaview Island to discuss their concerns regarding their community being one of the possible drying locations for the dredged material. We are confident that all those in attendance were pleased with the information they received, as well as with the progress they are seeing on the project. We were happy to also be joined by Cindy Zipf, Executive Director of Clean Ocean Action, who shared her perspective and support of the project’s recent momentum.
This project is closer to reality than ever before. We have funding, we have drying sites, and will be dredging the entirety of the Shark River’s state navigational channels very soon. This is a result of years of work coordinating with the many agencies that have authority over this project. After being involved in this project for more than fifteen years as Mayor of Neptune City and now as a member of the Board of Chosen Freeholders, I am personally very happy to see this project finally come to fruition. The County has long continued to work cooperatively with state and local officials as well as government agencies to move this dredging project forward. This has not been an easy project, it has had its share of stumbling blocks, but I am pleased to say that we finally moving forward and have an end in sight.
After much discussion and planning, the County has come to an agreement with the mayors of Rumson, Little Silver, and Fair Haven regarding a 2.8 mile bike path, utilizing mostly county roads. A resolution was unanimously voted on at the July 23 Freeholder Meeting in which the county agreed to share in 50% of the construction costs, once the municipalities provide an engineered plan (and it meets the county requirements).
As more of our communities become interested in “complete streets” and user-friendly spaces, we know residents are looking to local, county and state government to find opportunities to better integrate pedestrian and bicycle conveniences along their corridors.
As I’ve said before, the County enthusiastically supports safer roads for all users – pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists. The County is supportive of making our roads a safe haven for all its users, for both recreation and as a way of commutation. I also want to remind residents that Monmouth County has a network of multiple use trails within the County Park System. There are more than 130 miles of off-road trails for bicycle, pedestrian and equestrian use in 21 County parks.
Thank you for your continued support .