By Tom Arnone, Monmouth County Freeholder
We continue to promote small businesses within Monmouth County. The Façade Improvement Program initiative not only took off but was a huge success for many local businesses. As liaison to the department of Economic Development, and on behalf of the entire Board of Chosen Freeholders, I had the pleasure of presenting another façade improvement grant to the owners of the Freehold Borough Subway this week. They used the funds to put gooseneck lighting over their sign on Main Street in Freehold. As of this writing, all funds in the Façade Improvement program have been awarded. We are encouraging businesses to submit applications for our waiting list. If the businesses that have been approved decide not to move forward with the grant, we will take the next business off the waiting list.
The second Grow Monmouth Roundtable took place this past week in Hazlet. We had a large number of businesses attend and the discussion was helpful to the municipality, county and the businesses. I want to thank the governing body of Hazlet for partnering with us on this meeting. Our next roundtable is scheduled to be held in Manalapan on March 19th.
Additionally, on March 31st, as liaison to the Department of Tourism, I will be meeting with the mayors and tourism leaders of our coastal communities who are members of the Monmouth County Tourism Advisory Group. The group will discuss tourism promotion and plans for the upcoming season. The meeting is scheduled to take place at the County Connection in Neptune.
Lastly, after further study and investigation it has recently been determined that Shark River Park is no longer an economically viable option to be a temporary Confined Disposal Facility (CDF) for drying the Shark River’s dredge materials. The New Jersey Department of Transportation conducted a preliminary internal engineering and fiscal opinion of probable costs (OPC) of the potential project. The results of the OPC demonstrate the construction of the CDF at Shark River Park and the dredging and placement of approximately 100,000 cubic yards of material from Shark River far exceeds the State’s monetary allotment for the project. Consequently, the use of Shark River Park as a temporary CDF is not economically feasible. Although this new development is unfortunate, we will continue to work with all interested parties to dredge the Shark River and ensure its survival as a regional source for recreational activity, economic growth and ecological attraction.