PARSIPPANY — The Morris County Board of Freeholders and Morris County Park Commission held a special event this afternoon to open the new Central Park of Morris County main access road, named Governor Chris Christie Drive.
Governor Christie, who is a former Morris County Freeholder and a Mendham Township resident, participated in the event held at Central Park, along with the freeholders, park commissioners, legislators, and elected officials from Parsippany and Morris Plains, among others.
“We value our history in Morris County. Across Morris County, parks, streets, and schools are named for people who have played a major role in our history,’’ said Morris County Freeholder Director Doug Cabana.
“Governor Chris Christie, as a two-term elected Governor; a United States Attorney for New Jersey, appointed by President George Bush; a presidential candidate; and – of course – a Morris County Freeholder; has earned his place in the state and county’s history books. Now, this important new access road fittingly will carry his name.’’
As part of today’s ceremony, Governor Christie unveiled the new Governor Chris Christie Drive street sign at the intersection of Central Avenue. In addition, a larger hanging street sign was installed today at the intersection with West Hanover Avenue.
To mark the opening of the road, the former Governor took a ceremonial first ride in a vintage car — a 1922 Franklin — provided and driven by Randolph resident Art Lee, who chauffeured Christie and Freeholders Doug Cabana and Christine Myers along the one-third-mile length of the new road, escorted by a motorcycle detail of the Morris County Park Police.
Governor Christie was feted by Morris Plains Mayor Frank Druetzler, who spoke of his commitment to the state and Morris County, and thanked the Governor for his assistance is getting the much-needed road approved by the state during his tenure in Trenton.
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.
The new Central Park of Morris County access road is 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 Morris Plains, Parsippany and Morris Township to get to the soccer fields, skating rinks, cross country track, dog park, and other popular features of the park.
The contractor for the $1.5 million project was Sanitary Construction of Fairfield, with engineering design done by Boswell Engineering of South Hackensack.
On the historical side, Governor 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.