The Monmouth County Board of County Commissioners recently awarded $2.8 million in park improvement and open space acquisition grant funds to 19 municipalities in the county through the 2021 round of the Monmouth County Open Space Grant Program.
“As our residents continue to get much needed fresh air and exercise in their local parks and open spaces during these ongoing difficult times, the county commissioners are proud to provide the help and support our local partners need to continue to make the improvements necessary to keep our neighborhoods great places to live and play with our families,” County Commissioner Director Thomas A. Arnone was quoted as saying in a press release.
By providing funding, the county’s Open Space Grant Program assists municipalities in meeting their local open space acquisition, recreation, historic and conservation goals. Many of the projects funded by the program would not be possible without the county’s assistance, according to the press release.
An additional round of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Green Acres grants for park development projects in 2021 encouraged many towns to “think big” when proposing new projects, hoping to receive funding from the state and the county, according to the press release.
The county commissioners allocated $2 million in grant funds, combined with $816,000 of re-programed grant funds, which allowed awards totaling $2.8 million in grant funding.
“I have been very impressed with the hard work and creativity of all of the applications received this year for grant funding,” said County Commissioner Ross Licitra, who is the board’s liaison to the Monmouth County Park System.
“It is no easy task deciding which of the many great projects get funded each year. We look forward to continuing this great program and seeing the completed projects being enjoyed by everyone,” Licitra said.
The following municipalities received funding:
• Millstone Township, Clarksburg Cultural Center, Phase III, $150,000;
• Colts Neck, Improvements to Laird Road Recreation Center and Five Points Park, $140,000;
• Eatontown, Nicodemus Park Splash Pad Project, $48,000;
• Fair Haven, Spagnuolo Property Acquisition, $250,000;
• Keyport, 2021 Park Improvement Project, $140,000;
• Middletown, McMahon Park Improvements Project, $200,000;
• Aberdeen Township, Cambridge Park Improvements, $150,000;
• Hazlet, North Hazlet Community Park, $250,000;
• Holmdel, Pedestrian and Bikeway Plan, Phase I, $114,000;
• Red Bank, Various Park Improvements, Phase III, $100,000;
• Freehold Borough, Various Park Improvements, $117,000.
Since the inception of the program in 2003, 50 of Monmouth County’s 53 municipalities have been awarded more than $38 million for local parks and acquisition projects.
As of 2021, 275 grants have been awarded, with 213 of those grants going toward parks development projects and 62 of the grant awards going toward open space acquisition projects, according to the press release.