The Township of Toms River is in the running for a $1 million grant from the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Art Challenge... but that's not all.

Welcome to Ocean County Monument
Welcome to Ocean County Monument

Mayor Tom Kelaher says the Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation has also made an offer:  If Toms River wins, the Foundation will match other pledges up to an additional $1 million.  The Foundation has already funded the "Welcome to Ocean County" monument on Route 37 in Toms River.

Kelaher says he already has plans in mind for the funding.

"If we get this, what we would do is try and generate and create an arts center here in Toms River as an ancillary use for our development of the downtown," Kelaher said.

He says adding art to the community not only makes Toms River a more beautiful place to live, but also makes it a destination for artists and art lovers.

"And if that was the case, then the business would follow it," Kelaher said.  "Because if there were that many people, you could see more restaurants and more development along those lines."

Potential homes for the 6 to 8 temporary art installations include the Ocean County Library and Huddy Park, as well as other municipal and county lands and buildings.  Finalists will be selected and asked to submit a complete proposal in February 2015.

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