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State Changes Course, Will Allow Garden to Remain by Brick Highway

After a day-long grassroots campaign initiated by Mayor John Ducey, the state Department of Transportation has decided to step back from a decision to order the removal of a garden maintained in the median of Route 70 by the Brick Garden Club.

The garden, which has been maintained by the volunteer group for 16 years, was on the chopping block after the state found out it existed there recently.

“Upon further consideration, NJDOT has determined that the utility hydrant and the garden will be permitted to remain, contingent on the receipt of an Adopt a Highway application from Brick Township,” said Kevin Israel, spokesman for NJDOT, in an e-mail.

The hydrant he referenced is an outdoor faucet that the Brick Township MUA installed recently so the volunteers, many who are senior citizens, would not have to lug heavy jugs of water from a fire hydrant down the road. The DOT initially approved a permit for the faucet, but then said both the faucet and the garden itself had to go. The agency told town officials that they were concerned with the safety of the volunteers going to the plot to maintain the flowers.

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“We ask that all of those tending to the flowers exercise the utmost care and caution when crossing the roads to access the property where the flower arrangements are located,” said Israel.

Ducey said he was delighted by the news.

“It shows what Brick can do when we band together on an issue,” he said. “It’s a proud day for Brick.”