EDISON – The township will get $3 million to renovate and expand the Dr. William Toth Health Center on Idlewild Road. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr., D-6th District, who was joined at the center Monday by Mayor Sam Joshi and other township officials, secured the $3 million in a federal spending bill that was signed by President Biden into law last December.
The Toth Memorial Health Center provides critical public health services and resources.
The funding will be used to renovate and expand the center by nearly 3,000 square feet to better meet the health needs of the community, especially seniors, according to a press release.
The new space will include a large meeting space for events and activities, reading room, full kitchen, and a common lounge. The new space will also enable Edison to greatly expand its vaccinations, health screenings, and other essential services to older residents, the release said.
“The towns can’t do these things by themselves,” Pallone said. “They need help.”
A lot of times the towns struggle to meet their local healthcare needs, he said, adding that there used to be a lot more health departments in his district of Middlesex and Monmouth counties.
“A lot of towns don’t even have any health activities at all or very minimal,” Pallone said. “Part of the reason for that is because it’s become more expensive as time goes on. “
Pallone said when Joshi approached him and said he would be interested in having the building expanded and provide more services, he was excited at the prospect.
It’s a way of supplementing what the local government does in terms of health services for people that are in need with some federal dollars, Pallone said. In this case, it’s for infrastructure, but it could be for other things as well, he said.
“The COVID-19 pandemic made it clear we need to do more to ensure everyone has access to health care,” Pallone said in a release. “I fought for this funding so seniors in Middlesex County can get the care they deserve and need. The center’s expansion will allow it to increase the number of seniors it serves and keep them healthy. I’m grateful to Mayor Joshi and everyone who joined us today for their tireless work to strengthen the Edison community.”
Pallone also said he was impressed when he read about Dr. Toth and what he did in Edison to provide free health services and the different things he did in town.
“We are grateful for Congressman Pallone’s partnership with our office and the residents of Edison,” Joshi said in the release. “This $3 million federal appropriation will help us expand the footprint of our township Health and Senior Center. The added space will greatly benefit our older residents, allowing them to spend time doing recreational activities and receive health care all in one place.”
Joshi explained that to date the township only has one senior center.
“There was a huge demand for more services towards senior citizens,” Joshi said.
The building dates back to the 1950s and it really hasn’t been upgraded since then, the mayor said.
“It’s a gathering space,” Joshi said. “It’s a community center, but it also provides senior citizens’ health services. That’s what’s really important about this, so this is going to be a community center tailored for senior citizens.”
Joshi said he spoke with Dr. Toth’s son, who was very excited and thankful for this. Joshi said his name will continue to be recognized on the building.
The township secured more funds from Middlesex County, the state and federal officials than ever before in the township’s history, the mayor said.
Council President John H. Poyner said the funding is “much needed for the township.”
“This is a wonderful opportunity for the residents of Edison,” he said. “The expansion of this health center will further promote health services within the township – throughout all of the township whether it’s children, adults or seniors. The added benefit is that with the expansion we are going to be increasing the services for our seniors as well.”
Susan Loyer covers Middlesex County and more for MyCentralJersey.com. To get unlimited access to her work, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.