FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 1, 2009

CONTACT: Seb D’Elia, 908-527-4419

 

$22 MILLION IN FREEHOLDER STIMULUS FUNDS TO TOUCH LIVES OF MANY THROUGHOUT UNION COUNTY

 

Forty-two thousand more meals for seniors in need. More than 12 miles of County roads repaved, and multiple intersections improved. Rental assistance for the jobless and the foreclosed. Affordable housing for seniors and low-income families. Financial training for youth. More jobs and skill training for laid-off and dislocated workers.

These just some of the ways that President Obama’s stimulus funds will touch the lives of Union County residents this Fall, Freeholder Chairman Alexander Mirabella announced recently. Mirabella noted the County has received more than $22 million in stimulus funds throughout Union County for various projects and programs that will help jumpstart the economy, and assist those in need during this transitional economic period. A few of these projects are already underway, however, most will begin this Fall.

“Thanks to the vision of President Obama, we have an opportunity to help our residents in need, and jumpstart our local economy,” Mirabella noted, adding the funding provided a “unique” opportunity for Union County.

“Our top priority is to get Union County back at work, whether it’s rebuilding our infrastructure,  building new affordable housing for our seniors and low-income families, or by providing direct assistance through training and funds for living,” Mirabella said.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is investing $787 billion into the U.S. economy to help the nation climb out of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Based on an independent analysis, New Jersey will reap about $17.5 billion in total benefits over the three years from this package.

Here at home in Union County, stimulus funds are being distributed through the Public Works, Parks and Community Renewal and Human Services Departments.

In the area of Public Works, residents in 12 different municipalities can expect to see a series of road repavings begin on County roads, totaling more than $4 million. Municipalities include Berkeley Heights, Elizabeth, Kenilworth, Linden, Mountainside, Rahway, Roselle Park, Scotch Plains, Springfield, Summit, Union and Westfield. Projects involve repaving, handicap ramp replacement/repair, signage upgrades, traffic striping, and stormwater management upgrades on inlets.

  • More than $5 million in corridor improvements will also be made in Plainfield, Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Cranford, and Elizabeth. The work to be done includes intersection improvements, signage, signalization, and safety enhancements for pedestrians, bikes, and the disabled. Thorough fares such as  South Broad Street, Terrill Road, Park Avenue and Springfield Avenue are among  those witnessing improvements.

Through the Parks and Community Renewal Departments, more than $2.6 million dollars will be provided through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, benefiting Elizabeth, Plainfield, Roselle, Rahway and Hillside. Funds will be used among other items to build senior citizen units, build low-income rental units, demolish abandoned housing, renovate homes, and provide counseling.

  • An additional $1.4 million was provided through the Community Development Block Program to municipalities such as Linden, Rahway, Roselle Park, Plainfield, Hillside, and Winfield.  Uses include Streetscape improvements in Rahway’s Central Business District, Winfield sidewalk improvements, and street improvements in Hillside, Linden, Rahway, Roselle Park, and Plainfield.

Through Union County’s Human Services Department, an additional 42,000 meals will be provided to seniors through Meals on Wheels, and Jewish Family Services.

  • Approximately $2.2 million will be available to provide short and medium term rental assistance including to those who lost their jobs, as well as a family whose home was foreclosed as they seek to move into a rental property.
  • More than $1.4 million will be distributed through the Community Services Block grant program for a Youth Financial literacy program, and for mortgage foreclosure assistance, including the hiring of counselors;
  • $125,000 will be provided for homeless assistance;
  • More than $2.1 million will be provided for job skills training through the County’s One Stop Centers; and the provision of training and employment opportunities for disadvantaged adults and youth.