HOWELL – At the Veteran Administration’s James J. Howard Outpatient Clinic, need has finally outgrown the facility’s space, causing them to look at relocation.
The clinic, located at 970 Route 70 in Brick Township, has been serving veteran residents of Monmouth and Ocean Counties for 25 years. With a lack of space, traffic and parking issues, the Veteran’s Administration (VA) is now looking at relocating to a site better suited to accommodate all of the veterans from both counties who utilize their services.
According to Brick Township Mayor John G. Ducey, the VA is looking to lease a site that could accommodate an 80,000 square-foot building with at least 480 parking spaces.
While Brick Township is located outside of Monmouth County, many Monmouth County residents utilize this facility as it is closer than the VA clinic located in Tinton Falls (to those in southern Monmouth i.e. Howell, Freehold, etc.) and also offers more services, according to Debbie Bottomley of the Monmouth County Division on Aging, Disabilities and Veterans Services.
“They’ve really outgrown the space,” said Bottomley, noting that while Ocean County has the largest veteran population in the state of New Jersey, Monmouth County is No. 3.
While the Tinton Falls clinic is certainly an option for Monmouth County resident veterans, Bottomley noted that the Brick clinic has more specialties, such as audiology, outpatient services, radiology, dental, mental health, a pharmacy, and physical therapy that residents tend to go for.
“Tinton Falls [clinic] is very small,” she said.
So many Monmouth County veterans use the Brick clinic that the county even provides modes of transportation to and from the clinic, according to Bottomley. They also provide transportation to and from the Brick Hospital.
Bottomley said that the county will continue to provide this service, even if the VA clinic is relocated somewhere farther away than Brick, like Toms River or Berkeley.
Bottomley doesn’t think there is a great likelihood of the Brick clinic relocating to a town within Monmouth County, or for a new clinic to set up shop there.
“Seeing as we already have a clinic in Tinton Falls, there [most likely] won’t be another clinic in Monmouth County,” she added.
Some sites being looked at for the relocated clinic include:
- The area of Hooper Avenue and Caudina Avenue in Toms River
- The area behind the Lowe’s Home Improvement store on Cedar Bridge Avenue in Brick
- A wooded triangle of property located between Burrsville Road, Jack Martin Blvd. and Route 88 in Brick,