2017 has been an interesting year for sure. There have been great, encouraging things going on in Ocean County, and there have been some less than ideal situations as well.

So here's my personal 2018 wish list for Ocean County. In no particular order:

 

 

  • Finish The Route 37 And Main Street Work

    We can pick road work headaches to talk about all day long, but if there's a single project in Ocean County that needs to come to a merciful conclusion sooner rather than later, it's the mess at Route 37 and Main Street.

    From Freehold Road to past Highland Parkway, it's an ugly landscape of orange barrels, confusing arrows, lane shifts, and traffic jams. Here's hoping that 2018 sees a long awaited end to that headache.

    Route 37 and Main Street (Google Maps)
  • Shut Down The Shady Motels

    Is there anything positive going on at either the Red Carpet Inn or the Americana Hotel?

    Honest, it's not a rhetorical question. I really want to know.

    Having our office across the street from the Red Carpet Inn, I'm not seeing many business travelers or families here to enjoy the shore checking in for a nice stay.

    So honestly, are the shady motels contributing anything positive to the community?

    Will 2018 be the year that either (or both) get shut down for good?

    Photo by Tom Mongelli
  • Bring In A Specialty Grocery Store

    I don't think that there's a lack of interest in specialty grocery stores like Trader Joe's or Wegman's in Ocean County.

    Any time we ask you what you'd like to see come to Ocean County, those two almost always top the list.

    Of course a lot more goes into it on a corporate level, from market research to available locations and more, but we know that the desire is out there in our community, so will either make 2018 their year to join us?

    Getty Images
  • Put Something Great In The Former Java Joint Space

    Last week I bemoaned the short lived residency of Meanbean Burritos & Beyond in the old Java Joint space at Main and Washington Streets.

    In the 5 years that our offices have been here in downtown Toms River, the building has housed a random collection of antiques, been empty, hosted the aforementioned burrito spot, and is now vacant again.

    You'd think that it would be an absolutely prime location for any number of types of businesses, but in recent history nothing has seemed to be able to stick.

    It can't stay empty forever, so will the next business to occupy the former corner cafe in 2018 be the one to stick?

  • The Return Of Civilized Discourse

    I'll be honest, I don't have high expectations for this to happen in the next 365 days.

    I feel like right now we're at a place in society where road rage, Internet rage, and lowest common denominator discourse have become the standard.

    Read any comments section on just about any Facebook post about, well, anything, and you'll see any number of names called, threats made, and mothers insulted.

    Like, holy cow, people, what the heck?

    Can we work on this in 2018? Instead of automatically going to the nuclear option, can we all try to have actual human conversations first?

    Vladimir Mucibabic