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LITTLE SILVER: A BARNYARD CELEBRATION

ls-barns-101616-10About 100 Little Silver residents, joined by Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagnols-barns-101616-4, celebrated the completion of restoration work on the three barns at the Parker Homestead Sunday.

The structures, the oldest of which is believed to have been built in the 1790s, and the Parker farm site on which they sit are “as important as Jamestown” in the history of America, Mayor Bob Neff told the crowd.

The restoration, funded with a $250,000 Monmouth County Open Spaces grant, was completed after a dispute with a contractor was resolved and a second contractor, Drill Construction, came on board in January, said Keith Wells, a trustee for the nonprofit Parker Homestead 1665 Inc., the nonprofit that oversaw the project. Two carpenters, Joe Rubel and Mike Cerniglia, were credited for work.

Click the “read more” for additional photos. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

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RED BANK: RAYRAP SEEKS ‘REHAB’ SITE LABEL

rapcavage 082714Ray Rapcavage, center above, with his wife, Suzanne, and Hudson Street resident Scott Broschart at the Five Corners site in 2014. Below, a detail of the latest proposal for the site. (Architectural rendering by David John Carnivale. Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rayrap 061316 1Having been thwarted by the zoning board, developer Ray Rapcavage plans to ask the Red Bank council to designate his assembled properties on the edge of downtown as an “area in need of rehabilitation,” redbankgreen has learned.

If granted, the controversial label would enable Rapcavage to avoid a return trip to the zoning board with his revised plan, though he denies that’s his intent.

Rather, it would create a more “expeditious” route to possible construction on the half-block of properties he’s assembled on Harding Road between Clay Street and Hudson Avenue, Rapcavage said Monday.

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MIDDLETOWN: SHARING SUMMER’S BOUNTY

fresh start 081016donegoodlogoChildren of five families from the River Plaza section of Middletown have been using their summer vacation to grow, and collect from neighbors, produce that they donate weekly to Red Bank’s Lunch Break.

Dubbing their effort “Fresh Start,” the members of the Brett, Carson, Passo, Pipercic and Grissom families have delivered more than 270 pounds of fresh produce to the 33-year-old free kitchen.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

RUMSON MAN SENTENCED FOR MARKET CRIMES

A Rumson commodities trader who owned and managed a Red Bank firm was sentenced to three years in federal prison last month for market manipulation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced Friday.

Michael Coscia, owner of Panther Energy Trading, was convicted in Chicago last November in the first-ever federal prosecution for “spoofing” under the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the FBI said.

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LITTLE SILVER: BENEVEDIS HOUSE RAZED


ls benevidis 071916 2benevedis 070915 2As part of a plan to create more parking at Sickles Park in Little Silver, the borough-owned Benevedis house at the park’s entrance on Rumson Road was demolished this week.

Unlike the National Historic Landmark Parker Homestead next door, the 113-year old house was not considered historically significant, and became unusable after a radiator burst during a cold snap in February 2015, causing water damage throughout, official have said.

As reported by redbankgreena cache of rare old baseball cards was salvaged from the home among other items associated with the Parker farm, which dates to the early 1665(Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: SENIORS GET DOWN AND DIRTY

rb seniors garden 071416 2rb seniors garden 071416 1Despite wilting heat and humidity, a group of seniors tended the newly installed raised-bed garden purchased by Councilwoman Cindy Burnham for the borough Red Bank Senior Citizens Center Thursday morning.

At right, 98-year-old Edith Blake checks the aroma on a sage leaf from the planter, where seniors have also planted tomatoes, taragon and basil. The planter is set up beside a picnic table so seniors can garden while seated, said Burnham. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: RAYRAP TO PUSH FOR LAW CHANGE

rapcavage tumia 061316Ray Rapcavage, seen last month with Harding Road neighbor Kenny Tumia, above. Below, a detail of Rapcavage’s plan. (Architectural rendering by David John Carnivale. Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rayrap 061316 1Hoping to pave the way for his latest plan for a troubled site on the edge of downtown, developer Ray Rapcavage intends to ask the Red Bank council to amend the borough zoning law.

Rapcavage tells redbankgreen he’ll appear at Wednesday night’s semimonthly council session to ask for a change to allow builders to construct units with up to three bedrooms without having to seek a use variance.

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RED BANK: BON JOVI THANKS BIZ OWNERS

jovi martino fadell 062216donegoodlogoRock star Jon Bon Jovi chats with Red Bank merchants Linda Martino, center, of Lux Beauty Store, and Dorothy Ferlanti, of Pinot’s Palette, at the JBJ Soul Kitchen Wednesday evening.

Bon Jovi and his wife, Dorothea Bongiovi, part-time Middletown residents, hosted a reception for business owners who donated a portion of their receipts on June 16 to a fundraiser for the nonprofit restaurant, which the couple opened in 2011 to fight food insecurity.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

RED BANK: RAYRAP RETURNS WITH NEW PLAN

Rayrap Site Plan 061316Ray Rapcavage, seen below on Hudson Avenue opposite his properties, including a house destroyed by fire in May, 2012. Above, a rendering of the proposed project, with an English garden fronting on Hudson and 16 condos backing up against Clay Street. (Architectural rendering by David John Carnivale. Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rapcavage 061316 1Seven months after his proposal for homes at the Five Corners site in Red Bank was shot down by the zoning board, developer Ray Rapcavage has filed completely overhauled plans with borough hall.

The new plan reduces the number of proposed homes on the site — fronting on Harding Road, Clay Street and Hudson Avenue — to 18, from 22. It includes a large English garden of winding paths out front, whereas the last plan had no open space.

And most critically for Rapcavage, the plan doesn’t need any variances, he tells redbankgreen.
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RED BANK: EATING ‘CLEAN’ TO SAVE HER LIFE

Amie Valpone returns Monday to Red Bank’s Front St. Trattoria, where she once waited tables, to promote “Eating Clean,” her memoir and cookbook. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Valpone_EatingCleanAmie Valpone was a healthy woman in her early 20’s when a cascade of ailments began, taking her to the brink of death.

Battling numerous diseases and beyond the help of conventional medicine, Valpone said she spent most of the following decade curing herself through better eating — and clearing her body of toxins.

Now 33, she’s chronicled her journey in a new book, titled “Eating Clean,” which tells the the story of “how food saved my life,” Valpone told PieHole last week. Read More »

RED BANK: WHAT’S NEXT FOR RAYRAP SITE?

RayRap site 121015 2The zoning board shot down a plan to build 22 townhouses and condos on a parcel bound by Clay Street, Harding Road and Hudson Avenue, throwing the future of the site into uncertainty. (Google Earth image courtesy of Ray Rapcavage. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03It’s hard to avoid the use of the word “eyesore” when talking about the RayRap site at the Five Corners in Red Bank.

With a vacant lot that was once home to a gas station; the burned husk of a house destroyed by fire; and another notorious for having once been spray-painted black — windows, shingles and all — it’s easily one of the borough’s least visually gratifying parcels. The fact that it sits on a heavily traveled street bordering the downtown and a residential area only heightens the effect.

So now that the zoning board has shot down a plan to develop the site with 22 new homes, what happens? Are we stuck with an eyesore forever?

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SHREWSBURY: BOROUGH’S ‘STORY’ UPDATED

burden gefken 112315 3Mayor Don Burden and co-author Rick Geffken at the Shrewsbury Municipal Complex. The Bonanno Farm on Sycamore Avenue, preserved under an easement, is visible in the background. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

story of shrewsbury 112315 2The 350-year history of Shrewsbury Borough, a vestige of a vast township that once extended from Raritan Bay to Little Egg Harbor, has a new chapter.

With the tiny borough getting ready to celebrate the 90th anniversary of its incorporation in 2016, two avid amateur historians — Rick Geffken and Mayor Don Burden — last month debuted a new edition to the definitive history of the town, adding in information on the past half-century of rapid transformation.

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RED BANK: ZONERS ZAP RAYRAP PLAN

bill brooks 120315 2Resident Bill Brooks studies a RayRap exhibit prior to the zoning board hearing. Below, a rendering of the proposed six-unit condo building that would front on Harding Road at Hudson Avenue. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rayrap condos 090815After a half-dozen hearings over 16 months and numerous revisions, a plan for 22 condos and townhouses on the edge of downtown Red Bank failed to win zoning board approval Thursday night.

Board members told developer Ray Rapcavage that though they appreciated his flexibility in accommodating the concerns of nearby residents, he hadn’t gone far enough.

“It’s just too dense,” said board chairwoman Lauren Nicosia, whose motion to reject the plan was backed by all but one other board member. Read More »

RED BANK: RAYRAP TRAFFIC PLAN RAPPED

rayrap 110515 1Planning consultant John Jahr addresses a question from Hudson Avenue resident William Hartigan as builder Ray Rapcavage props up an exhibit Thursday night. Below, a view of the six-unit condo building fronting on Harding Road, which was to have been a greenmarket. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rayrap condos 090815For the fifth time, developer Ray Rapcavage has revised his plans for a residential development on the edge of downtown Red Bank, this time to accommodate complaints that eight homes on Hudson Avenue were too close to the street.

But nearby residents voiced concerns at a zoning board hearing Thursday night that the 22-unit project would worsen traffic and parking on an already busy and narrow street.

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RED BANK: RAYRAP PLAN ON ZONING AGENDA

rayrap clay 011515rayrap 090315 2Developer Ray Rapcavage is scheduled to return to the Red Bank zoning board Thursday night with his proposal to build 22 homes on a block bounded by Harding Road, Hudson Avenue and Clay Street. Hearings on the original plan began in August, 2014, with a nine-month interim during which the proposal was revised.

Another project, the proposed 35-unit Element, opposite Riverside Gardens Park at 55 West Front Street, was also to have been heard, but has been rescheduled for December 10, according to a revised board agenda(Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

RED BANK: NO DECISION ON RAYRAP PLAN

rayrap 090315 1A house at the corner of Harding Road and Hudson Avenue, above, is one of five that would be demolished if  the plan is approved. Below, neighbors examined exhibits during a break in Thursday’s hearing. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rayrap 090315 3After a nine-month pause, Ray Rapcavage returned to the Red Bank zoning board Thursday night with his plan to create 22 homes on the eastern edge of the downtown.

Given the passage of time, plan revisions and the fact that three members weren’t on the board when hearings began 13 months ago, the Rumson-based builder agreed to start his presentation anew. But after some two hours of testimony, the hearing adjourned again without a decision. And it won’t resume for at least six more weeks.

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RED BANK: RAYRAP HEARING TO RESUME

rb rapcavage 081614rayrap hudson 011515More than a year after it began and nine months after the last session on the topic, the Red Bank zoning board’s hearing of Ray Rapcavage‘s plan to transform most of a block on the edge of downtown into 22 condos and townhouses is scheduled to resume Thursday night.

As reported by redbankgreen, Rapcavage recently revised the proposal — previously dubbed ‘Renaissance Village’ and now called ‘Le Belle Vue Village’ — by dropping a plan for a market on Harding Road.

The hearing — which comes after just two sessions, held in August, 2014 and January, 2015 — is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at borough hall, 90 Monmouth Street.

A hearing on plans to build 37 apartments at 55 West Front Street has been postponed to September 17, according to the meeting agenda. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: RAYRAP DROPS MARKET FROM PLAN

rb rayrap 072915Above is architect David Carnivale’s rendering of the six-unit condo building on Harding Road that would replace the previously planned market. Below, architect Cathy Zuckerman’s rendering of the condos proposed for Clay Street and Hudson Avenue. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rayrap hudson 011515Builder Ray Rapcavage has dropped his plan for a greenmarket as part of of a proposal to redevelop a block on the edge of downtown Red Bank, redbankgreen has learned.

In yet another in a series of revisions, plans filed with the borough show that instead of a 4,300-square-foot organic fruit and vegetable market fronting on Harding Road, Rapcavage now plans to erect six condos.

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LITTLE SILVER: BARN RESTORATION STALLS

parker barns 070915 2No work has been done on the barns at Little Silver’s Parker Homestead in months. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

parker barns 070915 1One year after it began, work to restore three decrepit old barns at the Parker Homestead site in Little Silver has been stalled for months, and may be heading to court.

Neither town officials nor the contractor, Nickles Contracting, would discuss the reason for the inactivity, or even say when the stoppage began, leaving the structures a patchwork of braces and plywood coverings.

“It’s kind of in the hands of our attorneys,” Mayor Bob Neff told redbankgreen, citing the possibility of the matter winding up in litigation for his reticence on the matter.

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LITTLE SILVER: OLD HOUSE TO BE RAZED


benevedis 070915 3
The borough-owned Benevedis house, at the entrance to Sickles Park, was badly damaged when a radiator burst during February’s cold snap, officials say. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Standing as it does next door to a farmhouse that traces its origins to the early 1700s, the so-called Benevedis house in Little Silver might strike passersby as a relic of American agricultural history, too.

Well, it is 112 years old, according to Monmouth County records. Otherwise, though, the borough-owned house at 221 Rumson Road appears to have no historic value, local officials say. It’s also now badly damaged as a result of a leak from a radiator that burst over the winter.

So in keeping with a plan contemplated when the town bought the property nine years ago, the house is coming down to make way for parking, with the reluctant endorsement of a preservationist.

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FARMERS MARKETS: WHERE TO GET FRESH

061815sbmkt1At the Sea Bright farmers market, Meg Paska sells locally grown produce and flowers from Seven Arrows Farm, while the Holly Hill Farm table, below, offers Rumson-grown seedlings and produce.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

061815sbmkt2Options for finding locally grown produce on the Greater Red Bank Green doubled with the addition last year of a farmers’ market in the Sea Bright municipal parking lot on Thursdays.

For local shoppers, that means more variety. While both Sea Bright and the Red Bank Farmers’ Market at the Galleria on summer and autumn Sundays are dependable for farm-grown veggies, there are some characteristics that differentiate the two.

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LITTLE SILVER: COOKIE TIN YIELDS GEMS

PH Cobb set A collection of baseball cards from 1909, including two feauring Ty Cobb, found among the possessions of a former Parker family member will be on display Sunday. (Photo above by Liz Hanson. Click to enlarge)

[CORRECTION: The original version of this article incorrectly reported that there may be thousands of baseball cards in the collection. That estimate refers to postcards, not baseball cards.]

By JOHN T. WARD

LS parker 121613 1Sunday may be Flag Day, but at the historic Parker Homestead in Little Silver, it will also be a day for baseball.

Old-time baseball, that is, in the form of a rare set of baseball cards discovered recently in a cookie tin among piles of possessions from the historic house on Rumson Road.

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RED BANK: MARKET OPENS SUNDAY

rb farm mkt 061514 12 rb farm mkt 061514 16A week later than its customary Mother’s Day opening, the Red Bank Farmers’ Market returns Sunday to kick off its 16th run through summer and fall.

Among the returning vendors – but not right away – is the nationally regarded Cinnamon Snail vegan food truck, which recently lost its rights to do curbside business in New York City over permitting issues. The Snail’s return to the farm market was uncertain, but a post on the farm market’s Facebook page says the truck is expected to be back “later this month.”

Pets are no longer allowed at the market, which is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the parking lot of the Galleria, at West Front Street and Shrewsbury Avenue.(Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

LITTLE SILVER TO OPEN COMMUNITY GARDEN

ls garden 051315 1Little Silver gets down and dirty Saturday with the opening of its community garden, located on Harrison Avenue behind the Parker Homestead on the approach to Sickle’s Market. With a ribbon cutting ceremony scheduled for 10 a.m., the borough joins neighboring towns of Fair Haven, Red Bank and Shrewsbury as a place with a centralized growing spot for its residents.

Plot holders are charged $50 for the season, and four ADA-compliant plots were still available earlier this week. For more information, email littlesilvercommunitygardens [at] gmail.com. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)