Ortley Beach has gone through many changes over the last eight years since Superstorm Sandy struck, including much in the way of modernization. The neighborhood’s business district is due for an aesthetic renaissance of its own, residents said, and working together with officials, obtained a significant state grant to improve the Route 35 north corridor.
The project is currently in its design phase and includes the area from Colony Road to First Avenue. The improvements are aimed at helping to beautify the area while promoting economic growth and expand the business district as the community comes into its own after being largely recognized as “ground zero” for Sandy’s wrath.
Enhancements will be made to improve the public’s experience in the area, including better lighting, pedestrian accessibility and bike racks. News stands and benches will line the streets. Visibly-new gateway signage and landscaping will amplify the area as well.
“I’m excited this project has begun,” said Councilwoman Maria Maruca, Ortley Beach’s ward representative.
Maruca gave credit to the Ortley Beach Voters and Taxpayers Association, saying its input was “crucial” to obtaining the grant. The civic nonprofit group assisted township officials in drafting a streetscape plan before it was submitted for consideration by the state.
The project comes with no cost to taxpayers. Toms River received over $900,000 in federal funding through the state Department of Transportation’s Transportation Assistance Program (TAP) in 2016. The grant was part of the 2015 Ortley Beach Neighborhood Plan, funded with a post-Sandy recovery grant.
“We are always looking for ways to support the Ortley Beach area and the business district,” said Mayor Maurice “Mo” Hill. “We are thankful to NJDOT’s TAP program for enabling us to do that, recognizing the needs of a post Sandy recovery all with no impact to the taxpayers.”
The project is set to be completed by the spring of 2022.