Updated: Parts of Cedar Grove Lane ‘Adopted’ By Somerset County Sheriff Candidates

Somerset County Sheriff Frank Provenzano, left of sign, and Somerset County Freeholder Director Patricia Walsh, right of sign, at Amwell Road and Cedar Grove Lane with members of the Sheriff’s department.

Update: An interesting wrinkle developed Aug. 24 in the “adopting” of Cedar Grove Lane by the two Somerset County Sheriff’s candidates.

Incumbent Sheriff Frank Provenzano, at a press event in the township that morning, said that his office had adopted the entire stretch of Cedar Grove Lane from Amwell Road to Easton Avenue.

His assertion was confirmed by Somerset County Freeholder Director Patricia Walsh, who was also at the short event.

But Darrin Russo, Provenzano’s Democratic challenger, has said that his family had adopted part of the road from New Brunswick Road to Easton Avenue.

Russo said Aug. 24 that he called the county that day and had it confirmed that his family was, in fact, “adopting” that part of the road.

No word as of late Aug. 24 how that’s going to be worked out.

Provenzano said at the event that he decided to get the Sheriff’s Office involved in the 14-year-old program because “it was right in front of us all these years, adopt a road. Why shouldn’t we do it with our inmates?”

Provenzano said inmates sentenced to weekend detention for non-violent offenses will be used for the program. He said they will probably clean the road once a month.

“You see the Boy Scouts do it, J&J, any big company does it,” he said. “I said, I got free labor. These guys have to be here, they have to do something. In inclement weather, they’re inside painting buildings.”

Asked why he chose a township road as the first one to adopt, Provenzano said the township “has a lot of county roads … and some of them are really long.”

Asked if there were any political reasons behind the choice, given that Russo is a Franklin resident, Provenzano said, “Not really.”

The sheriff said the program will be spread to other parts of the county.

“Eventually we’ll do quite a few county roads,” he said.


Original story: Two stretches of Cedar Grove Lane are getting some love from the candidates for Somerset County Sheriff.

Darrin Russo, the former township police lieutenant running for the office on the Democratic ticket, announced Aug. 23 that he and his family have “adopted” a stretch of the county road from New Brunswick Road to Easton Avenue.

Frank Provenzano, the incumbent Republican county sheriff, will announce Aug. 24 that the Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with the Somerset County Freeholders, will also “adopt” a section of the road.

The Russo family will be responsible for cleaning their section of the road, while county inmates will clean the part of the road chosen by the Sheriff’s Department, according to releases from both.

Through the Somerset County Adopt-a-Road Program, organizations, companies, school groups and individuals can apply to “adopt” a minimum 1-mile section of a county road.

In return, the sponsoring group or individual commits to cleaning that section of the road of litter and debris at least four times a year.

The county supplies a road sign signifying that the road has been “adopted,” and also supplies safety vests and garbage bags for the cleanups.

Russo, a 30-year veteran of the township police force, said that he will travel down the road daily and will, with his family, clean his section of the road monthly.

“For 30 years, I have patrolled Franklin Township working to keep our streets safe,” Russo said in a release about his participation in the program. “In retirement I want to focus on giving back to the community. A few weeks ago my wife and I along with our five kids decided to become a part of the Adopt-A-Road program.”

“I along with my entire family are proud to be the latest link in the Adopt-A-Road program and look forward to getting started as participants in the next few days,” he said in the release.

The Somerset County Sheriff’s Office participation in the event was announced through a press release from the county Freeholders.

A “kick-off announcement” has been scheduled for 10 a.m. Aug. 24 at Cedar Grove Lane and Amwell Road, according to the release. Provenzano and Freeholder Director Patricia Walsh are slated to host the event. Township Police Chief Lawrence Roberts is scheduled to attend.

The release did not specify which section of the road has been chosen by the Sheriff’s Office. Inmates from Somerset County Jail will be used to clean the road, according to the release.


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