City to create a Health and Telecommunication Center, New Municipal Court
The City of Long Branch introduced an ordinance this evening at the council meeting that transfers ownership of almost four acres of land and buildings at Monmouth Medical Center from RWJ Barnabas Inc. to Long Branch. The properties are located on the corners of Third and Bath avenues (map attached).
The City will be acquiring the Ronald McDonald House which is currently being used only as administrative offices, as well as vacant apartments, the former Kindercare building, and the abandoned Auxiliary Hall that fronts on Bath Avenue. The Kindercare Building will be the new municipal court and the new Health and Communications Center will be located at the existing Ronald McDonald House and attached apartments.
“We want to thank RWJ Barnabas for their generous donation of the land and buildings to the City of Long Branch. We appreciate the partnership we have with RWJ Barnabas and their continued support for the city,” Mayor John Pallone said.
Mayor John Pallone explained that the costs to renovate and complete these new projects will not be at the expense of local property taxes.
“The State of NJ through the efforts of Governor Murphy and Senator Vin Gopal secured $2 million for the Health and Technology Center and Congressman Frank Pallone matched it with $2 million from the federal government. The money to renovate and complete the new municipal court will also come from the federal funds given to the City by the American Rescue Plan,” Mayor Pallone said.
“The City will not incur any costs for acquiring the land and buildings for our new campus. Monmouth Medical Center has gifted the property for the projects. The City will actually save money from the rental costs it pays to maintain the municipal court at the Garfield Grant building on Broadway, which it does not own,” Mayor Pallone continued.
“We are very happy to donate these buildings to the City of Long Branch. Monmouth Medical Center will continue renovations and upgrades at the Long Branch hospital and develop services and programs that support the new Long Branch Health and Technology Center,” said Bill Arnold.
Mayor Pallone explained that Long Branch will relocate all its health services to the new campus including its Health Department, vaccine and testing clinics and rabies program for animals.
“The plan is to provide expanded health and wellness programs for our residents such as physical fitness, healthy eating and cooking. We will utilize the outside areas for recreational activities such as a walking path and gardening,” the Mayor said.
“The telecommunications portion of the City’s plan addresses the digital divide in Long Branch highlighted by the pandemic. Many residents lack access or training to use a computer, which is so important for virtual work and educational opportunities. This training center will bridge the digital divide for telehealth and telework purposes,” Council President Rose Widdis said.
“The Long Branch Library will also transfer some of its computer and social services programs to the Health and Technology Center,” Widdis continued.
Once the property is transferred to the City, architectural design proposals will be executed for the renovated buildings. The City will take over the property beginning January 1st.