HAZLET, NJ, May 27, 2003 – State and local officials joined NJ TRANSIT today to dedicate the newly refurbished Hazlet Train Station on the North Jersey Coast Line.
The $6.1 million project – built with State and Federal funds by George Harms Construction, Inc., of Howell – included expanded and improved parking, construction of two 800-foot high-level platforms for easier boarding of trains, installation of heated shelters and overhead canopies, improved pedestrian access and lighting, and installation of artwork that represents past and present scenes in Hazlet and the surrounding Bayshore region.
An abandoned brick chimney in the original parking lot was dismantled to make way for 83 additional parking spaces. NJ TRANSIT gave the bricks to Hazlet Township to help raise funds for a September 11th memorial. Seven Hazlet residents died in the attack on the World Trade Center.
"With the construction of this multi-million dollar raised platform railroad station, NJ TRANSIT has placed Hazlet Township on the map,” said Hazlet Mayor Steven T. Piech. “Hazlet Township has become a hub for commuters into the city and, more importantly, a long awaited means of transportation for persons with disabilities. Thanks to NJ TRANSIT, the Hazlet Township Railroad Station is new, improved and open for business."
"The new improvements to the Hazlet Train Station represent a significant investment in the quality of life of the people of Hazlet and the Bayshore area,” said State Senator Joseph M. Kyrillos. “By making our transit services safer, better and more convenient, we are helping to alleviate congestion on our crowded highways by encouraging more people to ride the rails. Furthermore, we can take great pride that this station project will help to serve as a fitting tribute to the many heroes of September 11th."
“I commend NJ TRANSIT for the improvements to the Hazlet rail station being dedicated today,” said Assemblyman Samuel D. Thompson. “The added parking spaces, high-level platforms, and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act will provide our commuters with safer and more convenient rides. My colleagues – Senator Joe Kyrillos and Assemblyman Joe Azzolina – and I look forward to continuing to work with Executive Director Warrington and NJ TRANSIT to make further improvements along the North Jersey Coast Line to provide even more convenience and accessibility for its users.”
“This is another milestone in making the North Jersey Coast Line even better and more convenient for riders in the Hazlet area and my 13th legislative district,” said State Assemblyman Joseph Azzolina.
“These station improvements are a part of Governor McGreevey’s commitment to improve access and boarding for transit customers,“ said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director George D. Warrington. “We are also proud to be a part of the community’s September 11th memorial.”
Hazlet Station – one of 20 stations on the North Jersey Coast Line – serves 1,052 daily riders. The station is located between Hazlet Avenue and Holmdel-Keyport Road.
NJ TRANSIT worked with the community and artist Yakov Ishakov to create the artwork at the station. It consists of a composition of two-sided mosaic tile pieces that are placed on the eastbound and westbound platform railings. The artwork includes images of birds in Natco Park, fire engines, Bayshore beach scenes, Doctor John Hazlett – a founding father of whom the Township is named, and the Vecchi Ketchup Factory chimney that stood at the site.
The abandoned chimney that served the ketchup factory was dismantled to make way for 83 additional parking spaces, bringing the total number of parking spaces at Hazlet to 466. Both the inbound and outbound parking lots have been reconfigured, repaved and re-striped as part of the Hazlet Station improvement project.
The Vecchi Ketchup Factory operated in the early 20th century, contributing substantially to the economy of the community. Tomatoes and apples would be unloaded from horse-drawn carriages at the factory to make tomato paste, ketchup, canned tomatoes, apple butter and cider. The factory later became a foundry where brass castings were produced before closing around 1960. A fire destroyed much of the abandoned factory in 1963 except for the chimney, which remained until it was demolished for the Hazlet Station parking project.
Hazlet Township has created a committee to plan a 9/11 memorial, which will be dedicated to seven Hazlet residents who died at the World Trade Center. The memorial will be installed Hazlet’s Veterans Memorial Park on Union Avenue. The committee is selling bricks from the dismantled chimney and hosting other events to help raise funds for the memorial. The seven Township residents who died in the attack on the World Trade Center are: