To The Editor:

In 1609, as Henry Hudson’s ship the Half Moon sailed north along the coast and entered the Raritan Bay, the crew marveled at the natural beauty of landscape and rivers inspiring Crewmember Robert Juet to write in the ship’s journal “This is a very good Land to fall with, and a pleasant Land to see”.

That first bucolic vision of MonmouthCounty has been a constant reminder to our Monmouth County Freeholders who have created, supported and implemented a strategic plan that calls for the preservation and protection of our open space and waterfront access while establishing and maintaining one of the finest County parks in the nation.

Since her election to the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders in 2005, Freeholder Director Lillian Burry has been the front-line leader of MonmouthCounty’s open space mission.

Freeholder Burry’s passion and commitment to open space and our parks has inspired us and the entire Freeholder Board.  It is about the quality of life in MonmouthCounty where we live.

It is about vision.

A relatively new and fabulous project that Freeholder Burry, spearheaded, the Swimming and Navesink River Greenway, encompasses Tinton Falls, Colts Neck, Middletown, Shrewsbury, Red Bank, Fair Haven and Rumson.  A combination of municipal cooperation, grant projects and outright riverfront land purchases have addressed our many neighbors who have embraced kayaking, crew boats, canoeing, paddle boarding and access to the rivers.

In the northwest corner of Monmouth, MonmouthCounty is in the process of piecing together parcels of property that will become a premier regional park embraced by residents of Keyport,

Matawan-Aberdeen and Marlboro.  The residents of this densely-populated area have embraced the plan.

In Long Branch, Asbury Park and along our coast, the Freeholders have opened new doors and dialogue in renewed efforts to provide parks, open space and recreation programs in our densely-populated urban areas.  There are challenges in some coastal areas including limited public beach access, perceived needs for both preservation and ratables and mixed messages from local officials with different but legitimate differences of opinions about priorities. Yet the Monmouth County Freeholders have still provided municipal grants, new urban recreation programs and have kept the dialogue doing forward for potential parks, additional beach access and level of County participation.

Finally, Freeholder Burry is committed to salvage some good from the crushing economic blow of the federal closing of FortMonmouth including the retention of the golf course, the construction of Commvault Corporate Headquarters which has retained jobs and the repurposing of the fabulous For Monmouth Recreation Center from military to civilian use.

As a lifelong proponent of open space, beach and waterfront access, I have had the privilege of serving as a Monmouth County Park Commissioner for twenty five years.  Over that time I have met many thousands of people who take pride in our park system. 

While the staff of the MCPS, our many wonderful volunteers, the Recreation Commissioners and the Monmouth County Freeholders graciously accept the compliments, fundamental lessons to remember include high expectations, perpetual commitment to improvements and efficiency and above all serving Monmouth County citizens and our five million yearly visitors, 365 days a year.  Our MonmouthCounty parks are open every day of the year and our

Freeholders never seem to stop working on our behalf.

While Monmouth County residents are proud of our parks, there is always more work to do.  Monmouth County is a work in process.  To continue that progress, I urge the readers to support and vote for Freeholder Lillian Burry and Freeholder Gary Rich.

 

Mike Harmon

Atlantic Highlands, NJ

 

Mike Harmon is a Monmouth County Park Commissioner for the last twenty five years, a former Mayor and Councilman in Atlantic Highlands, a CPA and a forensic accountant.