A busy, congested corner in town underwent a transformation into becoming a welcoming new gateway to Veterans Park while providing pedestrian safety for children, part of a longtime planning vision for Hazlet.
In the fall of 2021, new sidewalks have been created connecting the entrance to Veterans Park from Green Acres Drive on Middle Road to Green Acres Drive on Union Avenue. This pedestrian expansion has been envisioned since 2006 and is now being realized since the recently improved road widening of Middle Road and Union Avenue intersection completed by Monmouth County.
As part of this circulation node is a small park area, tying pedestrian and bicycle routes, with a pedestrian park entrance point. A walking trail is to be provided from this small park to the Hazlet Municipal Building, the James T. Cullen Center, skate parks and our pool and tennis club as a portion of this endeavor in the future. This also connects walkways to Middle Road School and Raritan High School and to our Natco Park entrance and Environmental Building.
Workers are now working on the small park which will include a digital information signboard, an attractive multi-faced clock as a central point, flags, landscape lighting and wall scape features. When completed, the project will fulfill a vision by elected town leaders that dates to 2006 for a town focal point and an enhancement to this very visible intersection while providing safety to all pedestrians, cyclists while serving a purpose to all residents.
Contractor S. Brothers was awarded a $565,284 contract for the construction project, which is subsidized by a $220,000 Municipal Aid grant. Open space funds will be used to fund the balance. These funds can only be used for park improvements or open space acquisitions.
The new park entrance reflects visions and concerns from our many months of stakeholder meetings, made up of our residents, and adoption of the Monmouth County Bayshore Strategic Plan in 2006. This stakeholder input was revisited again in 2010 by many and adopted as our 2030 Vision Plan.
The Bayshore Strategic Plan and Hazlet 2030 Vision Plan identified this intersection for the increase and expansion of our circulation system in town, as well as to provide more pathways for biking and walking. It is part of a plan to work towards safe interconnectivity of township parks, schools, and residential areas.
The new Middle Road/Union Avenue corner reflects goals set out over many years and is now being realized through resident concerns and visions for Hazlet. A huge thank you for those that have participated in these stakeholder meetings and advisory boards and committees for their foresight and volunteering their time for the betterment of Hazlet.