EDISON – The township will receive $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 downtown Monday by Mayor Sam Joshi and other township officials, secured $3 million in a federal spending bill that was signed into law by President Biden last December.
Toto Memorial Health Center provides important public health services and resources.
The funding will be used to renovate and expand the center by nearly 3,000 square feet to better serve the medical needs of the community, particularly the elderly, according to a news release.
The new space will include a large meeting room for functions and events, a reading room, a full kitchen and a common lounge. The new space will also allow Edison to greatly expand the number of vaccinations, health screenings and other essential services for senior residents, according to the release.
“Cities can’t do it alone,” Polone said. – They need help.
Many times, cities struggle to meet their local health care needs, he said, adding that his counties of Middlesex and Monmouth used to have many more health departments.
“A lot of cities don’t even have any wellness activities at all or very minimal,” said Polone. “Part of that is because it gets more expensive over time.”
Pallone said that when Joshi approached him and said he would be interested in expanding the building and providing additional services, he was excited about the prospect.
It’s a way to supplement what local governments are doing in terms of health services for people in need with some federal dollars, Pallone said. In this case, it’s for infrastructure, but it could be for other things, he said.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear that we need to do more to ensure everyone has access to health care,” Pallone said in the release. “I fought for this funding so that 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 am grateful to Mayor Joshi and all , who joined us today for their tireless work to strengthen the Edison community.”
Polone also said he was impressed when he read about Dr. Toth and what he has done in Edison to provide free medical services, as well as the various things he has done in the city.
“We are grateful for Congressman Pallone’s partnership with our office and the people of Edison,” Joshi said in the release. “This $3 million federal grant will help us expand our City Health and Senior Center. The additional space will greatly benefit our senior residents, allowing them to spend time, engage in recreation and receive medical care in one place.”
Joshi explained that to date there is only one center for the elderly in the township.
“There was a lot of demand for additional services for seniors,” Joshi said.
The building dates back to the 1950s and hasn’t really been modernized since then, the mayor said.
“It’s a gathering place,” Joshi said. “It’s a community center, but it also provides health services to senior citizens. That’s what’s really important about it, so it’s going to be a community center that’s for seniors.”
Joshi said he spoke to Dr. Toth’s son, who was very excited and grateful for it. Joshi said his name will continue to be recognized on the building.
The township has received more funding from Middlesex County, state and federal officials than at any other time in the township’s history, the mayor said.
Council President John H. Poyner said the funding is “very much needed by the township.”
“This is a wonderful opportunity for the people of Edison,” he said. “The expansion of this medical center will help further the development of health services in the township – throughout the township, whether it is for children, adults or seniors. An added benefit is that with the expansion we will also expand services for our seniors.”
Susan Lauer covers Middlesex County and more for MyCentralJersey.com. For unlimited access to her work, sign up or activate your digital account today.