Smith Secures Nearly $4.7 Million In Federal Funding For Critical Projects In Lakewood

Critical humanitarian and infrastructure improvement projects in Lakewood championed by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) are slated to receive more than $4,691,450 in federal funding.

The funds were personally secured by Smith through his congressional earmarks that were signed into law on Saturday as part of a negotiated budget.

NEW SENIOR CENTER. Smith said $3,000,000 of the funds will go toward establishing a public, handicapped-accessible senior center—in conjunction with local government and private partnerships—that will help close the gap in services for senior residents throughout the area.

“Surprisingly, Lakewood—the fastest growing town in our state—has no senior center that provides a wide-range of critical services designed to help bolster its burgeoning senior population and keep them mentally, emotionally, and physically active,” said Smith.

“This regional senior center will help close the current gap in services for seniors from Lakewood and the surrounding areas and enable them to gather with peers in a congregant setting as they continue to live in their homes, thus helping to preserve their quality of life,” said Smtih.

Among its offerings, the regional senior center would provide congregate meals, health and wellness services, gym equipment and exercise classes, case management services, educational classes, personal development programs, and therapeutic creative modalities such as art classes and talent clubs.

DOWNTOWN EXPANSION. Smith said $1,061,469 of the funds will provide critical infrastructure needed to support downtown expansion as part of the Carey Street extension project in the college section of the town that includes Georgian Court University and Beth Medrash Govoha (BMG).

“This federal support will provide significant infrastructure improvements needed to support critically needed housing units, including sidewalks, street lighting, a traffic signal, streetscape features, and upgrades to drinking water mains, sewers, and storm water management,” said Smith.

HELPING CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES. Smith, the author of four major laws to combat autism, also secured $630,000 for two projects aimed at serving children with disabilities in the community.

The School for Children With Hidden Intelligence (SCHI) will receive $380,000 for a critical safety renovation and upgrade to its Wheelchair Accessible Special Needs Playground, which has already helped provide the gift of mobility to over 1,000 children and young adults in the past 15 years.

“By removing ill-fitting and broken rubberized material, as well as eliminating architectural barriers which currently restrict the mobility and accessibility of this fast-growing handicapped student population, this renovation project is expected to double the number of severely disabled and underprivileged children who are able to participate in this play environment where isolation is decreased, and socialization increased,” said Smith.

Additionally, the Special Children’s Center will receive $250,000 to construct an accessible community garden in Howell that will be open to residents of Monmouth and Ocean counties.

“These federal dollars will be put to great use to help create a safe and supportive environment for individuals with special needs and disabilities, offering them access to fast diminishing open space suited for agricultural, recreation, and educational opportunities for the special needs community,” said Smith.

The funds secured by Smith are part of more than $20,817,000 in federal funding he recently secured for projects across the Fourth Congressional District to help build new roads aimed at alleviating traffic congestion, repair public buildings, improve drinking water, upgrade law enforcement patrol vehicles, expand childcare services for working families, and more.

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