PARSIPPANY — The Morris County Board of Freeholders and Morris County Park Commission held a groundbreaking in Parsippany for the new Central Park of Morris County main access road, which was named formally yesterday as Governor Chris Christie Drive.
Governor Christie, who is a former Morris County Freeholder, and New Jersey First Lady Mary Pat Christie participated in the event held on the route of the new road in Central Park, along with the freeholders, park commissioners, legislators, and mayors from Parsippany and Morris Township, among others.
“We have a dual purpose today: We are marking the start of construction of a much needed new access road to Central Park of Morris County, and at the same time, we are marking the place in our county’s history of Governor Christie – who is a Morris County resident and one-time county freeholder,’’ said Freeholder Director Doug Cabana.
Freeholder Cabana detailed the assistance received by the county from the Christie Administration to move ahead on the much-needed road, and also detailed the Governor’s long-time role in Morris County government and its history.
Gov. Christie is one of a select group of just four persons from Morris County to serve as Governor of New Jersey, and only the second since the late 1800s.
The others are George Theodore Werts (1893-1896), Philemon Dickerson (1836-37), and Mahlon Dickerson (1815-1817) – for whom the Morris County Park Commission’s Mahlon Dickerson Reservation is named.
“As a two-term elected Governor, the United States Attorney for New Jersey appointed by President George Bush, a presidential candidate, and – of course –a Morris County Freeholder, Gov. Christie has earned his place in the state and county’s history books,’’ said Freeholder Cabana.
“We thank him for his service to our state, county, and nation as his second term nears an end, and wish him, the First Lady, and their family well in the future,’’ added Freeholder Cabana.
As part of the event, Governor Christie was presented with a ceremonial “Governor Chris Christie Drive’’ road sign by the freeholders and park commission.
“This is part of the reason why you want to raise your family here,’’ said Gov. Christie. “It’s places like this where you can bring your children for them to grow up in a surrounding that is as beautiful as this with the opportunities to compete and to share a special time with their family.
“That’s all a wonderful part of what it means to live in Morris County,’’ said the Governor.
The new Central Park of Morris County access road will be a one-third mile connector of Central Avenue in the county park to West Hanover Avenue, a short distance from downtown Morris Plains.
It will provide easier access to the park and alleviate much of the traffic that now cuts through residential neighborhoods in Parsippany, Morris Plains and Morris Township to get the soccer fields, skating rinks, dog park, and other popular features of the park.
Work on the $1.5 million project will start shortly and should be completed by mid-2018.
To build the new road across state land, the county had to obtain a 14-acre right of easement from the state and other approvals, and received support of the Christie Administration in those efforts.
Also earlier this year, in cooperation with the Christie Administration, the Park Commission worked out a long-term management agreement with the state for 106 undeveloped acres of state land on the former Greystone Hospital campus to add to the our Central Park venue.