Infrastructure grant money awarded to 21 municipalities

UNION COUNTY, NJ — A total of $1.5 million in grant money was awarded to 21 municipalities throughout Union County. The funds are intended to support street repairs and economic development. As part of his chairman’s initiatives for 2016, Union County Freeholder Bruce H. Bergen would like to see the money go to street repairs due to the toll the last few winters have taken on the roads. So far 20 of the 21 municipalities have announced the money will go toward street repairs.

“The $50,000 we received in grant money will go towards repairing a roadway in the borough,” said Roselle Park Mayor Carl Hokanson.

City Engineer of Summit Aaron J. Schrager said, “the city received $100,000 in grants from the county. It will be used to complete the second phase of the DeForest Avenue Improvement Project. This project will complete the streetscape previously installed on the first phase of the project.

The project includes the installation of bump-outs at the intersections, replacement of the traffic signals at the intersections of DeForest and Woodland avenues as well as DeForest Avenue and Maple Street, replacement of the curbing and sidewalk, shared bike lanes, decorative crosswalks, the installation of decorative LED lighting, and the complete milling and resurfacing of the roadway surface.

The project limits are from Maple Street to Kent Place Boulevard. We will begin work in late June, and it is expected to take three months to complete.”

“The end result of several bad winters and tough budgets during a time of shrinking of state and federal funding have placed a strain on local roads,” said Bergen in a recent press release. “With this in mind, our goal is to prioritize road projects, and our municipal partners responded with great interest in making these improvements.”

“Union County is a commuter county,” said Union County Freeholder Bette Jane Kowalski in a recent press release. “Better roads not only ensure the safe flow of traffic with less stress on vehicles, but also the smoother flow of commerce, which is essential to well-being of the County.”

Some additional examples of work funded include roadway improvements
to three local roads in Berkeley Heights, the Westfield Avenue streetscape project in Clark, MacLennan Place Roadway improvements in Fanwood, the Center Street milling project in Garwood, West Henry Street improvements in Linden, resurfacing on East Second Street in Plainfield, East Second Avenue improvements in Roselle, improvements to Larch Street in Roselle Park, and the 2016 Township of Union Road Rehab project.

The program was conceived by Freeholder Christopher Hudak in 2015, developed through the County Freeholder Fiscal Committee the past two years, and administered by the Department of Economic Development.

This year’s Fiscal Committee is chaired by Freeholder Alexander Mirabella, and includes Freeholders Hudak, Kowalski, and Vernell Wright.The matching grant initiative makes available approximately $1.5 million to Union County’s 21 municipalities, assisting them to accomplish tasks undertaken in calendar year 2016. The funding for the grant is provided through the proceeds from the sale of Runnells Specialized Hospital in 2014.

Elizabeth was awarded the most money, with a grant of $105,000. Scotch Plains, Summit, Union and Linden each received the second-highest amount awarded in grant money, a total of $100,000 per municipality. Springfield, Roselle Park, Rahway, New Providence, Kenilworth, Mountainside, Hillside, Cranford and Clark received between $50,000 and $80,000.