Monmouth County is relatively young, economically speaking. Its development didn't begin in earnest until the early 1970s, when summer visitors began to move here year-round. Until then, the county was mostly summer resort communities flanked by farms and woods with villages scattered in between. Since then, the county has become one of the most desirable addresses in the nation. A wide variety of housing supports every income group; main streets compete with large regional malls and highway shopping centers; office/research investments have transformed the economy into a regional force, and entertainment and recreation opportunities meet growing demand.
The county retains its rural flavor, however. The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders has preserved nearly 20,000 acres of open space and farmland, and more is being purchased all the time. The state's farmland preservation program has saved hundreds of valuable agricultural acres, and municipalities are preserving hundreds more acres for parks, conservation and open space. The freeholders have even designated highways and byways as "Scenic Routes" to encourage property owners and municipalities to preserve their rural character.
Speaking of highways, the county is also undertaking a multi-million-dollar road improvement program to ease traffic and speed trips. The long-awaited completion of the Route 33 bypass in Freehold Township, the Kozloski Road extension and an ambitious bridge replacement program are underway or nearing completion. Together, the projects will widen transportation options to ease traffic and open land for development.
A great deal of land remains for economic development, and Monmouth County's 53 municipalities offer varying degrees of investment opportunities. The Monmouth County Department of Economic Development and Tourism works closely with municipal officials to promote "smart growth" policies that preserve local character and lifestyle while attracting jobs and ratables. The department, under the direction of the Freeholders, promotes the county as an ideal location for "clean" ratables for municipalities that welcome them. This way, Monmouth County can develop in an orderly, friendly way that benefits everyone.
Its waterways and the Atlantic Ocean heavily influence Monmouth County's recreational opportunities. The Monmouth County Health Department's ongoing monitoring programs and improvement projects ensure the region's superior water quality. County ocean waters are considered some of the cleanest in the nation. An extensive river restoration project has resulted in the lower half of the Navesink River being reopened for harvesting of shellfish. Raritan Bay and Sandy Hook Bay are among the most bountiful in the Northeast, and the state began to reintroduce oysters in the waters off Keyport in 2001.
Fun in the Sun
The 27 miles of pristine beaches entice swimming and surf fishing, while the bays, lagoons, and inland waterways are ideal for recreational boating. Marinas, including the Atlantic Highlands Municipal Marina -- the largest municipally owned marina in the state -- offers plenty of mooring space. Sandy Hook, a unit of Gateway National Park, not only has some of the East Coast's finest beaches, it also features one of the remaining marine forests. It also has a historical treasure trove in Fort Hancock.
Monmouth County beaches, thanks to rigorous environmental controls and a massive, federally funded restoration project, are among the widest and cleanest in the Northeast. Beaches are within minutes of major shopping centers, hotels, restaurants and office complexes and are easily reached by car, bus, train or ferry. Our beaches, bays and rivers are a major catalyst of the county's economic health and are a key selling point for executives who want a healthy and diverse lifestyle for themselves and their employees.
Fast Times, Good Times
Other popular attractions include stock car races at Wall Stadium, drag racing at Raceway Park in Englishtown and competitive horse racing at Freehold Raceway and Monmouth Park Racetrack. The county is also home to the largest number of horses of any county in New Jersey, and has devoted 19,000 acres to equine activities. There are also several top-rated golf courses throughout the county, including six operated by the Monmouth County Park System. Two of the county's courses are ranked among the best 50 in the nation.
Our Scenic Park System
More than 12,000 acres within the Monmouth County Park System offer a vast array of outdoor activities. More than 11,000 acres are accessible to the public in 36 different park areas for fishing, birding, swimming, and passive recreation. Its blend of scenic parklands, recreational facilities, and conservation areas includes Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park in Long Branch, where seven U.S. chief executives had summer homes. The park system is a model for county parks nationwide, having been the first to win accreditation from a nationally recognized organization that sets the standards for park development and use.
Monmouth County also has national and state parks including Allaire State Park, Gateway National Recreation Area, Monmouth Battlefield State Park, and Telegraph Hill State Park. These parks include state-owned wildlife refuges and the federally owned habitat for endangered species at Sandy Hook.
Our Pride is our Past
For a breathtaking view of New York Harbor, visit the Twin Lights of Highlands, a two-beacon lighthouseoverlooking Sandy Hook, which has the oldest operating lighthouse in the United States. While there, view the museum displays recounting the beginning and history of the Life Saving Service, which predates the Coast Guard. Or tour the U.S. Army Communications Electronics Museum at Fort Monmouth, which features communication electronics dating back more than 80 years. Other historic sites include the Historic Allaire Village in Wall Township, Longstreet Farm in Holmdel, or The Galleria in Red Bank, which is an example of early 20th Century industrial architecture.
Vibrancy and Opportunity
Cultural events take place throughout the year. The Monmouth Arts Center and Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, the Algonquin Arts Theatre in Manasquan, the Lumia Theater in Long Branch, the PNC Bank Arts Center at Holmdel and numerous local stages bring the finest in music, drama and comedy. The Great Auditorium in Ocean Grove, a national landmark, presents a full range of summer concerts and lectures. Two enclosed malls, shopping centers, antique stores, and flea markets provide plenty of shopping. Hundreds of restaurants cater to any taste. Bed and breakfasts and hotels offer visitors a place to relax. No matter how long your stay, your days will be filled with enjoyable activities.