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Manalapan officials initiate plan for new community center

MANALAPAN — A new community center could be on the horizon in Manalapan.

During a meeting on Nov. 30, the members of the Township Committee passed a resolution authorizing CME Associates to proceed with professional engineering services related to site plan development for a new community center.

Mayor Susan Cohen, Deputy Mayor Mary Ann Musich, Committeeman Barry Jacobson, Committeeman Eric Nelson and Committeeman Jack McNaboe voted “yes” on a motion to pass the resolution.

The resolution states that municipal officials are “desirous of building a new community center within the Manalapan Recreation Center” and that “as part of the planning stages for this project the township believes site selection for this new community center will be critical to ensure the center is constructed in a location that is both desirous to the township and reduces the need for offsite utility extensions.”

A cost estimate provided by CME Associates for the concept review for site plan development and permitting review and preparation amounted to $18,000 and was approved by the Township Committee members.

At the present time, Manalapan has a small community center on Route 33 near Millhurst Road.

Speaking on behalf of the governing body, Cohen told the News Transcript that “the Township Committee has engaged an engineer and an architect to determine the feasibility of a new community center in the Manalapan Recreation Center.

“We are analyzing the needs of the community and determining what type of facility will work best for the residents of Manalapan. Our goal is for this new building to house our senior center and recreation department.

“We would also gain meeting space and gathering space for a variety of municipal organizations and volunteer groups, including the Veterans Committee and the Manalapan Arts Council,” Cohen said.

The mayor went on to say, “Our staff and department heads have been discussing this with the governing body members for awhile and funds were budgeted in the 2022 budget for a feasibility study.

“This new building would replace the community center on Route 33, the senior center (on Freehold-Englishtown Road) and the recreation offices (currently housed in a small home in front of the Manalapan Recreation Center).

“The Township Committee is excited about this project and is hopeful a facility could be built that will meet a variety of needs for our residents,” Cohen said.

In other business on Nov. 30, the committee members authorized CME Associates to proceed with professional engineering services related to the Monmouth County Municipal Open Space Grant application for the Manalapan Recreation Center Dreyer Playground special needs expansion.

According to a resolution, municipal officials are “desirous of applying for the Monmouth County Open Space Grant for an expansion of the Manalapan Recreation Center Dreyer
Playground to include a special needs play area.”

The $2,500 cost estimate provided by CME Associates for preparation of the application and support mapping, preparation and review of the application narrative, and coordination with the township for the final application submission was approved by a 5-0 vote of the Township Committee.

Finally, the committee members passed a resolution of support from Manalapan to the New Jersey Department of Transportation for safety improvements along the Route 9 corridor.

The resolution states that Manalapan “has been notified Old Bridge has requested the DOT to evaluate safety improvements along the Route 9 corridor in Old Bridge based on fatal vehicle crossover accidents that have occurred.”

The resolution goes on to state that Manalapan residents travel the Route 9 corridor daily and have been involved in accidents on the highway.

The Township Committee members said, “Manalapan agrees with Old Bridge and
recognizes the need to expedite the safe movement of pedestrian and vehicular traffic through the Route 9 corridor and along the portion of Old Bridge that is being evaluated.”

The resolution concludes by stating that “Manalapan fully supports Old Bridge in their request to have the DOT further investigate safety concerns along the entire length of Route 9 in Old Bridge.”

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