Brick officials are urging the federal government to keep an outpatient facility within the township, and suggested two locations that would be feasible given the Veterans Administration’s requirements for a planned new facility.
The VA’s clinic off Route 70 is often severely overcrowded and parking is virtually non-existant. The VA wants to build a new 80,000 square foot clinic in the vicinity, whether Brick, Toms River or Wall Township, the federal government said.
Brick officials responded to the VA’s request for information last week, prior to a deadline Friday. The township suggested two sites where a clinic could be constructed: the triangular piece of land at the corner of Route 88, Jack Martin Boulevard and Burrsville Road – where a condominium and retail project is currently proposed – and a vacant lot of Cedar Bridge Avenue.
“This is something we want to stay in Brick,” said Mayor John Ducey. “We have the perect spots for such a facility, and we really want to get behind it.”
Ducey said both locations offer quick access to the Garden State Parkway for those traveling from other towns, and the triangular plot is in the hospital support zone, close to Ocean Medical Center and other physicians and labs. Also, Ducey said, Brick has one of the largest populations of veterans due to its number of senior communities and numerous veterans organizations, including active VFW, American Legion, Disabled American Veterans and Vietnam Vets of America groups.
“Trying to park was a nightmare,” said resident Sam Foster, who recalled taking his father to the facility. “I’d let him off, and sometimes before I could find a spot, he’d be on his way out.”
According to the interest solicitation request by the federal General Services Administration, the VA is looking to rent 81,000 square feet of space at a new location in either Brick, Toms River or Wall townships to use for a new outpatient clinic. According to the document, the space could be an existing building or a sufficient plot of land available where a new structure could be built. A requirement is that there be at least 480 parking spaces.
If a building is leased, the term would be for a minimum of 20 years. The project’s budget would range from $50 million to $100 million, but it has faced numerous delays over the course of several years.
In March, U.S. Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-3) penned a letter to then-VA Secretary David Shulkin asking for the project to be expedited.
“As the Brick Clinic stands today, it does not provide full services to our veterans and does not provide adequate parking which has caused many veterans to park far from the clinic,” he wrote. “This is burdensome and difficult and our veterans deserve better.”