FREEHOLD – Municipal officials are taking action to appropriate $5 million that will be used to relocate Freehold Borough’s firehouse, develop a modern bus station and improve a borough park.
On April 4, members of the Borough Council introduced a bond ordinance that will, if adopted, appropriate $5 million for capital improvements. The ordinance will authorize the issuance of $4.76 million in bonds or notes to help finance the costs.
A public hearing on the bond ordinance is scheduled for the council’s meeting on April 18. The governing body may adopt the bond ordinance that evening.
According to the bond ordinance, $4.4 million of the $5 million appropriation will be used for the acquisition of property at Throckmorton and Broad streets so the Freehold Fire Department headquarters may be moved to that location from West Main Street; the construction of a new police and fire public safety facility; and the construction of a modern bus station. The cost of these initiatives will be partially covered by $4.19 million in bonds or notes.
The current firehouse is at 51 W. Main St. and the Freehold Borough bus station, which is a former railroad station, is at the corner of West Main and Throckmorton streets, next to the firehouse.
The relocation of the firehouse and the development of a modern bus station dates back to 2017 when the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) presented a draft concept for a transit village around the bus station.
At the time, the firehouse shared the building at 51 W. Main St. with Borough Hall. A partnership of business owners and property owners in Freehold Borough, known as KFM Partnership, later recommended moving municipal operations to a new location.
The individuals involved with KFM Partnership believed moving municipal operations out of 51 W. Main St. would open up property around the bus station and provide an opportunity to generate revenue for Freehold Borough by creating additional space for a developer who might bid on the NJTPA’s plans proposed for the bus station.
In late 2021, Borough Hall moved from the building at 51 W. Main St. to a building at 30 Mechanic St. The planned relocation of the firehouse will continue municipal officials’ plan to develop a modern bus station.
The remaining $600,000 of the $5 million appropriation will fund planned improvements at Liberty Street Park, which includes a $250,000 Monmouth County open space grant and a $127,243 New Jersey Green Acres grant. According to the bond ordinance, $570,000 in bonds or notes will help finance this project.
The improvements to Liberty Park are expected to include new basketball courts, refurbishing of the walking tracks, the construction of a parking lot, the addition of exercise stations, drainage improvements and the addition of a water fountain.
A down payment of $240,000 will cover the remaining costs, according to the bond ordinance.