UNION COUNTY, NJ - Mountainside Borough was among the 21 municipalities to receive an infrastructure award to help fund projects aimed at spurring economic development growth and street improvements.

A $50,000 grant from the Infrastructure Trust Fund was awarded to the Borough of Mountainside at Thursday evening's Union County Freeholder Meeting in Elizabeth.

As part of his Chairman’s initiatives for 2016, Freeholder Chairman Bruce H. Bergen had asked that municipalities focus on street improvements, given the toll on local roads over the past several winters. As a result, 20 of 21 municipalities responding will use their award to make road improvements, many of which are repaving.

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The program was conceived by Freeholder Christopher Hudak in 2015, developed through the County Freeholder Fiscal Committee the past two years, and administered by the Department of Economic Development. This year’s Fiscal Committee is chaired by Freeholder Alexander Mirabella, and includes Freeholders Hudak, Bette Jane Kowalski, and Vernell Wright.

“The end result of several bad winters and tough budgets during a time of shrinking state and federal funding have placed a strain on local roads,” said Freeholder Chairman Bruce H. Bergen. “With this in mind, our goal is to prioritize road projects, and our municipal partners responded with great interest in making these improvements.”

The matching grant initiative makes available approximately $1.5 million to Union County’s 21 municipalities, assisting them to accomplish tasks undertaken in calendar year 2016. The funding for the grant is provided through the proceeds from the sale of Runnells Specialized Hospital in 2014.

“Union County is a commuter County, and transportation---including our local roadways---is at the heart of this network,” said Freeholder Kowalski. “Better roads not only ensure the safer flow of traffic with less stress on vehicles, but also the smoother flow of commerce, which is essential to the economic well-being of the County.”

Some examples of work funded include: roadway improvements to three local roads in Berkeley Heights, Westfield Avenue streetscape project in Clark,  MacLennan Place Roadway improvements in Fanwood, Center Street milling project in Garwood, West Henry Street improvements in Linden, resurfacing on East Second Street in Plainfield, East Second Avenue improvements in Roselle, improvements to Larch Street in Roselle Park, and the 2016 Union Township Road Rehab project.