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RED BANK: SICKELS FACING HEAVY DEBT WOES

stanley sickels 050115Stanley Sickels at the Mayor’s Ball in May, 2015. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Red Bank’s top unelected official may lose the home he’s lived in all his life.

The McLaren Street residence of borough Administrator Stanley Sickels has been listed for a Monmouth County sheriff’s sale August 29 to resolve a previously unreported foreclosure and bankruptcy, redbankgreen has learned.

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SEA BRIGHT: POST-SANDY REBUILD DEBATED

sb boro hall 082316Crammed in beside desks in a gym repurposed as offices since Hurricane Sandy, dozens of residents attended the meeting. Below, the proposed police, fire and first aid building would include borough offices on the second floor. (Photo by John T. Ward. Rendering by Settembrino Architects. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

BOROUGH of SEA BRIGHT Municipal EMS BuildingWith millions of federal dollars possibly at stake, Sea Bright voters debated Tuesday whether to take on the financial burden of rebuilding all of the town’s public facilities wiped out by Hurricane Sandy.

With a pivotal referendum scheduled for September 27, dozens of residents crowded into a gym that’s been co-opted for borough offices since the 2012 storm, largely in agreement that new facilities are needed, but split on costs.

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SEA BRIGHT: TOWN HALL ON REFERENDUM

sb parking 081916 3BOROUGH of SEA BRIGHT Library + Beach PavilionSea Bright residents are scheduled to gather for a town hall meeting Tuesday night to discuss a referendum on whether to bond for new public facilities to replace those destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in October, 2012.

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RED BANK: OLD-TIME SODA SHOP PLANNED

FIZZ 081916Fizz Soda Fountain, featuring burgers, shakes and a 1940’s-era soda dispenser, is to replace the Red Bank Sub Shop, at 8 Monmouth Street. (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallThrowing in the towel on the increasingly competitive market for subs, a Red Bank eatery is going old-school.

Canio Paradiso’s Red Bank Sub Shop, at 8 Monmouth Street, which closed for renovations earlier this summer, plans to reopen next month as Fizz Soda Fountain.

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SHREWSBURY: CORNER GETTING A MAKEOVER

shrews chelsea living 081016Chelsea Living, a senior citizens’s assisted-living facility, has been approved to replace the vacant former Shrewsbury Manor nursing home at Shrewsbury Avenue and Patterson Avenue, below.  (Rendering by Meyer Design; photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

sbury manor 080916A dowdy stretch of Shrewsbury roadway is in the midst of a makeover.

An old bunker-like warehouse building is gone from the northeast corner of Shrewsbury Avenue and Patterson Avenue, replaced by two new retail businesses. And at the the southeast corner, the overgrown former site of a nursing home is about to get a new assisted-living residence for seniors.

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SHREWSBURY: SWIMWEAR, PIZZA & MORE

sbury lilikoi 080916Lilikoi set up shop recently in a Broad Street storefront in the Franklin Commons strip mall. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn small

This edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn takes a spin around Shrewsbury and finds — no surprise — that this retail-centric borough has no shortage of stores coming and going.

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RED BANK: SECOND FIREHOUSE UP FOR SALE

RB independent engine 93 061016 2The Independent Engine House on Mechanic Street. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_02

For the second time in little more than two years, Red Bank is looking to unload a firehouse.

On Wednesday night, without discussion, the council unanimously agreed to put the home of the Independent Engine Company, at 32 Mechanic Street opposite Globe Court, up for sealed-bid auction on August 30.

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RED BANK: PARKING PLAN ADVANCES, BARELY

rb white st lot 071916 1A divided council gave the go-ahead for a consultant to develop a concept plan for the White Street parking lot. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1Red Bank moved another step toward a possible answer to its chronic parking woes Wednesday night, but only after Mayor Pasquale Menna cast a pair of tiebreakers that put him at odds with fellow Democrats.

Menna’s votes were necessary after the council’s two lone Democrats joined with its sole independent in raising objections to a $6,500 contract for a concept plan covering the borough-owned White Street parking lot, where merchants and town officials envision a parking garage.

The debate also exposed rare friction between Menna and Red Bank RiverCenter, the semi-authonomous agency that promotes downtown business interests.

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RED BANK: APARTMENTS & GARAGE PROPOSED

denholtz 080416 16The taxi dispatch office on Oakland Street alongside the train station would be demolished and replaced with a parking garage and some commercial space topped by apartments. The new structure would connect to the office building seen in the background, on Chestnut Street. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Fourteen months after the debut of a short-lived plan for a brewery next door to the Red Bank train station, a builder has proposed an ambitious mixed-use project with 45 apartments at the site.

Denholtz Associates, a national development and property management firm based in Matawan, also wants to create a 129-car parking garage, along with a small amount of commercial space, on adjoining lots that run from Oakland to Chestnut streets, according to plans filed with the borough.

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RED BANK: FOOD & CLOTHING POWER CHURN

theo 080216Alexander Meder’s women’s clothing store, Theo, opened at 3 East Front Street this week. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn small Two new clothing stores open. A cupcake shop adds a coffee bar as another dessert business prepares to open. One restaurant changes hands while another goes dark. And a longtime barber sweeps up the clippings for the last time.

This edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn finds the usual elevated level of change in the face and character of downtown Red Bank. Read More »

RED BANK: APARTMENTS ON AGENDA

205 s pearl 080116A proposed six-unit, two-story apartment building on the site of garage at 205 South Pearl Street is among the items on Thursday’s agenda for the Red Bank zoning boards. The project, at the entrance to the Arrow Limousine parking lot, needs a carload of vriances, including one for density, with 45 units per acre proposed where 16 per acre are allowed. Here’s the full agenda. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

RED BANK: FORTUNE HOUSE’S GOOD FORTUNE

mumford fortune 072716 1Developer Roger Mumford leads high school journalism students on a tour of the Fortune House. Below, Mumford with preservationist Gilda Rogers. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

gilda rogers roger mumford 072716

Less than a week after the Red Bank zoning board approved a plan to save it, the still-crumbling T. Thomas Fortune House offered a preview Wednesday of its anticipated role: as a cultural and educational center.

About a dozen high school students from around New Jersey took an exterior tour of the onetime home of pioneering civil rights journalist, who lived in it for a decade starting in 1901 and entertained the leading lights of black culture there. In the process, they also got a lesson in how the interests of preservationists and profit-minded developers might converge.

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RED BANK: SALARIES ON AGENDA

rb-council-chambersSalaries for the mayor and council members would remain unchanged, but the earnings potential of professionals at borough hall would rise under a proposed ordinance. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesSix borough hall jobs will offer potential salaries above $100,000 if an ordinance on Wednesday night’s agenda is passed by the Red Bank council.

That’s up from three the last time the council adjusted salaries for its professionals, in 2014.

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RED BANK: FORTUNE HOUSE RESCUE PLAN OK’D

ROGER MUMFORD 072116 1Developer Roger Mumford with an architect’s rendering of the T. Thomas Fortune house as it would appear after restoration. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03

A decade-long effort to save an endangered artifact of African-American history cleared a major milestone Thursday night when the Red Bank zoning board approved a developer’s plan to rebuild the T. Thomas Fortune house and create 31 apartments on its one-acre property.

Borough-based homebuilder Roger Mumford, who vowed to restore and donate the house for use as a cultural center before he would seek certificates of occupancy for the apartments, was hailed as the last-chance savior of a vital relic of the civil rights movement that its current owners want to raze. Residents told the board before its vote that Mumford deserved the tradeoff of more than a dozen variances, most of them arising from the apartment plan.

“If a development project has ever given back to the community, it’s this one,” said Kalman Pipo, a member of the borough’s Historic Preservation Commission. “If this project doesn’t go through, we are going to lose this house” to the wrecking ball, he said.

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