By Tom Arnone, Commissioner Director, Monmouth County
I hope everyone is having a great start to the New Year.
Amid the increasingly cold temperatures and chance of snowfall, I want to ensure everyone that our Department of Public Works and Engineering employees are prepared for any potential storms that may be heading our way. We have the best crews around who all have the same goal in mind – to keep our residents safe during any inclement weather. Our number one priority always has been and always will be safety
Speaking of our Public Works and Engineering Department, I am excited to announce that my fellow Commissioners and I held a ribbon-cutting ceremony today to celebrate the completion of the State Route 34 (SR 34) and County Route 537 (CR 537) intersection improvement and bridge replacement project.
The project included the widening of SR 34, widening of CR 537, replacement of the existing traffic signal with state-of-the art technology, replacement of the CR 537 bridge (1300-A18), replacement of the SR 34 bridge (1308-152) and installation of bio-retention basins. This intersection improvement project set out to improve the safety and operations of the intersection as well as decrease the use of local roadways as alternate routes to avoid congestion.
Throughout construction, the County worked closely with local businesses including Delicious Orchards, Colts Neck Stillhouse and the Orchards at Colts Neck shopping plaza to minimize disruptions to their operations. At some points, work was staggered on certain sections of the roads based on their business hours to keep their driveways open.
I commend the County’s Department of Public Works and Engineering, and all of our partners, for the successful completion of this intersection improvement project. The County kept in constant communication with the community, such as disclosing that temporary lane closures or reroutes went into effect and made this a continuous priority.
On a very important note, last week my fellow Commissioners and I held a joint press conference with Monmouth Medical Center, an RWJBarnabas Health facility, and Brookdale Community College to announce their partnership to provide a vaccination site at Brookdale Community College’s Robert J. Collins Arena.
I am very excited to announce the County’s partnership with Brookdale and Monmouth Medical Center to provide this vaccination site for our residents. We know that the rollout of the vaccine has been a frustrating process for everyone, but especially for our vulnerable residents who are seeking the vaccine.
Unfortunately, we had been receiving an extremely limited amount of vaccinations and have not been able to meet the demand due to the insufficient supply received from the State. We have been advocating tirelessly for more vaccines for Monmouth County since the beginning and we will continue to seek more vaccines.
For the past several weeks, Monmouth County was receiving only 500 vaccines per week, but the County was informed that, beginning this week, the County will receive 2,500 vaccines per week.Of the 2,500, 2,000 vaccines will be administered at the Brookdale site over five days per week. The other 500 will be administered at the Monmouth County Agriculture Building in Freehold. All vaccines will be administered by appointment only. No walk-ins will be accepted.
The Brookdale site will be open five days per week, including Saturday, and offer later hours on Mondays. The hours, which are subject to change, will be as follows: Monday from 1-6 p.m.; Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon.The Freehold site will continue to operate five days per week, Monday through Friday, and the times will vary based on vaccine availability.
These hours are subject to change and likely will as the number of vaccines we receive, and guidelines continue to change. Initially, we will be scheduling individuals from the County’s waiting list, which currently has more than 11,000 names on it, until our new registration system is ready to go live.
Residents who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine can go to the County’s website at www.visitmonmouth.com and use the Monmouth County COVID-19 Vaccine Waitlist to be placed on the waitlist for an appointment for a vaccine.
While we do not have control over how many vaccines we receive or when we receive them, we will work tirelessly to distribute all vaccines as soon as they are received by the State and continue to advocate for more vaccines to be given to Monmouth County residents.
I would also like to take this opportunity to ask for volunteers. We are looking for volunteers to give vaccinations and to work registration.
Those interested in volunteering can call the Monmouth County Health Department Phone Bank at 732-845-2070 or email [email protected].
Additionally, I want to remind residents and business owners about Monmouth County’s “Keep Monmouth Safe” campaign to remind residents and visitors to wear a mask, social distance and wash their hands. We created several cohesive fliers with this important messaging for businesses to print – for free – and display in their establishments.Messaging includes:
- No Mask, No Entry
- Keep Distant, Keep Healthy
- Wash Your Hands, Guard Your Health
The fliers can be downloaded by visiting www.KeepMonmouthSafe.com . In addition to the fliers, we’ve also purchased nearly two dozen billboards around the County with the same messaging. We will also be using this messaging to remind people on our social media pages.
Lastly, I want to remind everyone that our Takeout in Monmouth initiative is back. We have once again purchased thousands of takeout bags to provide to our Monmouth County businesses, for free, as takeout orders again increase.
Since our Takeout in Monmouth initiative began at the beginning of the pandemic, we have provided businesses with over 25,000 bags for free.
As always, it’s a privilege to serve as your County Commissioner Director.
Commissioner Director, Monmouth County