County Spending Almost $1.5 Million to Improve MCIA Golf Courses

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ–On May 5, the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders approved a $1.49 million capital expenditure for improving the county's four golf courses.

The Middlesex County Improvement Authority (MCIA), which is currently being run by consultant Ralph Albanir, is responsible for the public golf courses in East Brunswick, Plainsboro, and Piscataway.

The Freeholders adopted resolution #16-682-R, which appropriates $1,492,401 to the MCIA for the improvements, the first time in about six years that it is making major investments to the golf courses.

The MCIA owns and operates two courses that go by the name "Tamarack" in East Brunswick, as well as Plainsboro's "The Meadows at Middlesex," and another at Raritan Landing in Piscataway.

The funding is for "upgrades to the recreational improvements to the golf courses that we're doing over there," said Freeholder Director Ronald Rios.

Rios said that it's "been a past practice" to use the county's "Open Space" trust fund for the county's four golf courses.

According to county officials, the funds will go towards the purchase of new golf carts, new equipment to cut the grass and "maintain the facilities," as well as improvements the "kitchen area" and "dining area," and the golf courses themselves.

"Extensive improvements are afoot at all locations, including floor-to- ceiling clubhouse renovations, an expansion of the golf-cart fleets and a reconditioning of the grounds, for instance upgrades to the fairways, greens, tee boxes and sand traps," reads a MCIA press release issued on March 24, more than a month before the Freeholders approved the expenses.

"As a complement to the courses’ modern-day amenities, a full line-up of newly installed equipment has been added to each kitchen and bar, which range from approximately 1,600-to- 3,100 square feet," the release continues.

But the courses themselves are also seeing significant improvements.

"We're moving and enhancing all of the traps and the trees," said County Administrator John Pulomena on May 5.  "Unfortunately, that's been ignored for about two or three years, so we're trying to catch up to address those concerns."

Since it was created in 1991, the MCIA was led by longtime Monroe Township Mayor Richard Pucci, until he abruptly retired at the end of 2015.

New Brunswick Today was the only outlet to report that Pucci was replaced in January by Albanir, a private consultant who previously worked for decades as the head of the County's Parks Department.

The contract for Albanir's firm, Albanir Consulting, expires on June 30.  But neither the MCIA or the county has announced who will take over the powerful position in July.

“We’re sowing the seeds for change – from the course conditions to the interior of facilities,” said Middlesex County Deputy Director Freeholder Carol Bellante, who serves as the liason to the MCIA.

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Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate and a community organizer, and was an independent candidate for Mayor of New Brunswick in 2018.