Residents concerned about Freedom Fest’s impact on their neighborhood

Organizers working on traffic plan, which may include closing easterly bypass during event


UPPER FREEHOLD — Several residents who live near the new site for the Freedom Fest State Fair have concerns about the impact the event may have on their neighborhood.

This is the first year that the Freedom Fest State Fair will be held at the townshipowned Reed Recreational Park on Route 526. For the past several years, the event took place at the Horse Park of New Jersey on Route 524. The fair is scheduled for July 12-17.

Kirsten Howell, who lives in the Galloping Brook development across the street from the fair site, appeared at the March 17 Township Committee meeting to ask the governing body what the township will do to keep fair traffic from encroaching on her development. She also had concerns about trash cleanup during the event.

Committeeman Stan Moslowski Jr. said the many people who volunteer to help out with the event earned a good reputation for cleanup when the festival was held at the Horse Park. Moslowski said Upper Freehold and neighboring Allentown officials met with festival organizers and Monmouth County engineer Joseph Ettore to develop a traffic plan, which may include closing the easterly bypass adjacent to the park.

Mayor Lorisue Horsnall Mount noted that the fair would take place on the portion of the park farthest away from the Galloping Brook development.

Galloping Brook resident Linda Pontell expressed concerns about the fair’s impact on the quality of life in her development.

“I don’t want a carnival 50 yards from my house,” she said, calling fair noise and traffic “extremely intrusive.”

Pontell asked the township to place temporary no parking signs along the development’s streets during the fair.

“We don’t want this near our houses,” she said.

Moslowski said that a temporary parking ban could affect residents hosting company during the fair. Pontell then suggested the township issue street parking passes to development residents in the event that they have guests during the event.

Nick DeMauro, Freedom Fest State Fair president, said organizers would develop a traffic and parking plan that will benefit both area residents and fair attendees.

“Fortunately, the location of the fairgrounds and current traffic patterns lend [themselves] very nicely to our options in the planning process,” DeMauro said. “Unfortunately, it would be premature to announce any plans, because nothing has been finalized.”

A committee of township officials, Allentown officials, fair organizers, county officials, and law enforcement and traffic and safety experts has been formed to develop the best possible plan, according to De- Mauro.

“I feel very comfortable, as a resident living in close proximity to the fair, that a good plan will be developed to further make this exciting event something special for our communities,” DeMauro said.

DeMauro said the fair committee is open to suggestions, and those with input or questions should call fair organizers at 609- 610-0910.

“We will surely consider all options to make this year’s fair a success,” he said.