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Neighbors of Route 37 Plaza Weigh Construction Versus Convenience

ShopRite in Crossroads Center and reconstruction of Presidential Boulevard changes life for nearby tenants

Since February, the demolition at Route 37 and 166 has been taken shape with widespread demolition and rebuild of 100,000 of combined square feet of retail space.

Emerald Apartments tenants have been living right next door to it all. A went up to the south. A large-scale stormwater basin for the plaza was dug yards from the backyard fenceline.

The ShopRite construction is over, but there's still a restaurant pad to build and the realignment of Presidential Boulevard. There's customers coming to ShopRite and .

We asked some local residents and staff at Emerald Apartments and Terrace View how the experience has been during construction.

“It’s been a long time coming. We had to get through the pain to get to the pleasure,” said Betsy Tiazkun, Emerald and Terrace View employee. 

With the easy access to the grocery store, Tiazkun said that it even increased the number of renters. 

“All the activity is a wonderful thing for the community,” Tiazkun said. 

On Nov. 16, ShopRite opened for business. Access to Presidential Boulevard is blocked for the time being while the intersection from Old Freehold Road is re-aligned. Since the only entrance to the Presidential Blvd. apartments is through the Crossroads Center, security helped direct traffic.

It's been an inconvenience, Tiazkun said, but “It’s been bared with...good things are going to come.”

Property Manager of Emerald and Terrace View Apartments, Jolene O’Leary, pointed out the easy access to shopping as a contribution to the community. 

“It’s good for residents! Especially for the residents who don’t drive,” said O’Leary. 

Tiazkun agreed, saying besides an obvious convenient location, the store stocks convenient, pre-cooked meals: “Residents won’t even have to cook.”

However, there's been dirt, noise and detours. ShopRite came down in late March through April.

Tiazkun said none were permanent. “We lived through the dirt, but it will wash away,” said Tiazkun. 

Tracy McFarland has been a tenant at the Presidential Blvd. apartments for three years. While waiting for her son's school bus to arrive, she said it's actually increased neighborhood traffic. Plaza customers are using the roads thinking it's an exit.

“It’s good for business, but for living here, people think they can cut through the plaza,” said McFarland.

Some unfamiliar with the area cut through the apartment complex, thinking an exit will be on the other side. Instead, it just gives McFarland a good laugh with all the cars that drive around in circles trying to get out the same way they came. 

It's been a bit hard navigating around during the detour. “As the construction progresses, we’ll able to get out of here easier,”  she said.

The construction has caused slower traffic for those simply exiting their residence on their commute to work, she said.

“It’s only bad temporarily until they’re done with all the construction,” said McFarland.

With a reconfigured Old Freehold Road and Presidential Boulevard, plus access points along Route 166 and 37, she's hoping the plaza's design will alleviate the traffic she experiencing during construction.

“I have hope that the traffic with Route 9 will calm down,” she said.

Eddie November 18, 2011 at 04:40 AM
Dover Township is now Toms River Township so why not the Dover Mall being called the Crossroads Mall. It is at a major crossroad. Looks like it is going to be a viable addition to the community too.
T November 18, 2011 at 05:52 AM
It's always going to be Dover Theatre to me.
copperpot November 18, 2011 at 02:18 PM
who cares, and it is a grocery store. I will never figure out why people would get excited over it
1stcav November 18, 2011 at 04:11 PM
Because a NEW copperpot is much nicer than an OLD dull copperpot...See what's new and exciting in the food world !!! Why open a new shiny restaurant when you can go to the same old dull dirty one ...right ! Zing in your life, instead of Zonk !... Blah Humbug !!!!
Xavier November 18, 2011 at 04:18 PM
I have a feeling this Shop Rite will be so insanely over crowded I'm going to avoid it as much as I avoid the one in Manahawkin.
copperpot November 18, 2011 at 04:30 PM
nothing is better than the original copperpot. There is a foodtown across the street and a pathmark within miles. It's just another way for people to buy more food they don't need and get fatter.
rosalita November 18, 2011 at 08:53 PM
I thought they were going to fix the traffic pattern there? I like fat people.
rosalita November 18, 2011 at 09:06 PM
I miss bradlees
rosalita November 18, 2011 at 09:08 PM
Seriously though, why didn't they fix the road before opening the store? Me no get.
copperpot November 18, 2011 at 09:11 PM
the road is bad. Maybe that is part of my problem with the center. I get stuck in a huge line of traffic everytime i try to go to favorites and lose all my money. Rosalita, they care about money. Rent checks and taxes, not roads and everyday life.
Tired of the status quo November 18, 2011 at 11:53 PM
Someone should tell the fat cats in Trenton who forget that Route 9 doesn't end in Lakewood or better yet Freehold. I personally think that this shopping center is a far better site than the blyte that had been sitting there for all these years! Maybe we can go back to looking like Toms River instead of Newark! Maybe the cops will look for all of these "graffiti artists" and the the governing body can find a way to fill these empty strip malls with little shops so we don't have to go to Monmouth County to find that unique item. I guess only time will tell and one can only hope!

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