MIDDLETOWN, NJ – Middletown Township is trumpeting the arrival of a new Neighborhood Watch program in Ideal Beach with the installation of signs at key locations in the beachside neighborhood.

“Township Committee and I are extremely proud of this Neighborhood Watch program. It shows people that Ideal Beach is a community that takes great pride in itself. The residents are out there and vigilant, and really helping to beautify this part of the town. It's a real true hidden gem of Middletown Township,” said Mayor Anthony Fiore to a group of government and community leaders who gathered at the Tonya Keller Community Center to mark the start of the program.

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Among those in attendance were Deputy Mayor Pam Brightbill, Township Administrator Anthony Mercantante and Deputy Chief Craig Bahrs and Ideal Beach Community Association (IBCA) members including President Kathy Grano and Secretary/Trustee Greta Siwiec.

More than 20 residents have already pledged to keep a watchful eye over the neighborhood. They also meet monthly to address various concerns. The group is assisted by a local detective who answers questions and provides guidance, said IBCA Secretary Greta Siwiec explained.

Installation of the signs is the latest in a series of projects and programs undertaken as part of the Neighborhood Preservation Program. Middletown secured federal, state and local funds to preserve and improve the neighborhood in 2009. Other activities and projects have included a home rehabilitation program, shade tree plantings and building improvements at the Tonya Keller Community Center; speed monitors along key roadways, and installation of security system to enhance neighborhood safety.

IBCA, a non-profit group, is an outgrowth of the Neighborhood Preservation Program. Many of its founding members were involved in community meetings hosted by the Neighborhood Preservation program to find out what residents wanted to see improved. IBCA remains dedicated to further program goals including enhancing their quality of life and building a stronger sense of community. Membership in IBCA is open to all residents. Non-residents who wish to support the neighborhood are welcome as Associate Members. The group meets every second Tuesday at the Tonya Keller Bayshore Community Center, 50 Bray Avenue. For more information, visit www.myidealbeach.org.