58° Fog

RED BANK GARAGE: BIJOU PROPOSAL

A view of the proposed Bijou project as seen from English Plaza looking south, with a warm-weather festival underway. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Here are the highlights of the proposal for a new Red Bank parking garage submitted by Bijou Properties, one of five developers to submit plans in response to a borough solicitation earlier this year.

Read More »

RED BANK GARAGE: DOBCO PLAN

An image from the Dobco pitch. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Here are the highlights of the proposal for a new Red Bank parking garage submitted by Dobco, Inc., one of five developers to submit plans in response to a borough solicitation earlier this year.

Read More »

RED BANK GARAGE: YELLOW BROOK’S ‘BEACON’

Yellow Brook’s proposed project, dubbed the Beacon, as seen from the northwest. Borough hall is at lower right. The plan incorporates the freestanding Atlantic Glass property at the northwest corner of White Street and Maple Avenue. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Here are the highlights of the proposal for a new Red Bank parking garage submitted by Yellow Brook Property Company LLC, one of five developers to submit plans in response to a borough solicitation earlier this year.

Read More »

RED BANK: DEMS VOW TO FIGHT GARAGE PLANS

Democrats denounced the five proposals regarding the White Street parking lot as part of “an aggressive course of urbanization” pushed by Republicans. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

[Correction: Councilman Ed Zipprich is the only Democrat up for re-election this year. He’s expected to face off against incumbent Republican Linda Schwabenbauer.]

The three Democrats on the Red Bank council denounced their Republican counterparts late Wednesday for pushing a “Jersey City-style high rise vision” that could result in 12-story buildings with hundreds of residences on the site of the White Street parking lot.

In a press release issued hours after the council agreed to publish proposals submitted by five would-be developers of of a downtown parking facility, Democrats Ed Zipprich, Kathy Horgan and Erik Yngstrom vowed “staunch opposition” to the proposals, which one termed “ridiculous” in size.

Read More »

RED BANK: SPARKS FLY OVER BUDGET

Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer, seen here last May with GOP colleagues Mark Taylor and Mike Whelan, found herself at odds with them, and Mayor Pasquale Menna, Wednesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank adopted its 2017 budget Wednesday night amid some odd political frictions.

Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer, who leads the budget-setting finance committee, took clear umbrage at a last-minute critique of the spending plan by Mayor Pasquale Menna. Then, the only ‘no’ votes when it came up for adoption were cast by her two fellow Republicans on the dais.

And before the night was over, Schwabenbauer’s main adversary in this year’s election, Democrat Ed Zipprich, issued a press release commending her.

Read More »

RED BANK: PARTIES TAP COUNCIL CANDIDATES

This year’s council candidates include Democrats Ed Zipprich, left, and Michael Ballard, center, and Republican Linda Schwabenbauer, right. Missing is Schwabenbauer running mate Dana McArthur. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The primary races for two Red Bank council seats will be uncontested in June, with the Democrats and Republicans having firmed up their two-person tickets Monday.

Read More »

RED BANK: TAX BILLS TO RISE 2.9 PERCENT

Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer, a CPA who heads the finance committee. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxes

Typical Red Bank homeowners would see a $x increase in the borough portion of their 2017 property tax bills under a budget introduced at Wednesday night’s council meeting.

For the owner of a home assessed at the town-average $362,342, that means an increase of $57.25 for the year.

 

Read More »

RED BANK: BURNHAM CASTS FINAL ‘NO’ VOTE

cindy-burnham-122816Council President Cindy Burnham at her final meeting as a member of the governing body Wednesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Firebrand activist Cindy Burnham ended her  term on Red Bank’s council Wednesday night vowing to continue the work that made her its most consistent contrarian.

On her way out, she cast the last in a long series of “no” votes in which she was the lone dissenter.

Read More »

RED BANK: ZIPPRICH ZAPPED ON ‘ORAL’ TWEET

ed zipprich 081215Councilman Ed Zipprich said there was “no sexual innuendo” in his tweet Trump running mate Pence. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Election_2016_PlainRed Bank Republicans on Wednesday accused Democratic councilman and party chairman Ed Zipprich of making a not-so-veiled and “bigoted” reference to oral sex about GOP vice presidential nominee Mike Pence last month.

During the October 4 vice presidential debate between Pence and Democratic nominee Tim Kaine, Zipprich asked on Twitter, “did #mikepence just say he spends time on his knees every day?”

Read More »

ON THE GREEN: A FORTUNE IN HISTORIC VALUE

mumford fortune 072716 2The Eastern Branch of the Monmouth County Library in Shrewsbury hosts an exhibit about Red Bank’s T. Thomas Fortune House, seen here during a student tour in July. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.) 

Press release from T. Thomas Fortune Project Committee

The fourth annual T. Thomas Fortune Birthday Celebration (a fundraiser hosted recently at the Oyster Point Hotel under the title “Fortune . . . Telling the Truth”) kicked off a string of events to highlight the restoration of the T. Thomas Fortune House, a National Historic Landmark, into the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center.

Read More »

RED BANK: MURPHY ROLLS, AND SWEENEY SITS

phil murphy 051616 3Phil Murphy in a campaign photo, apparently taken at Edie’s Luncheonette in Little Silver. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Middletown resident Phil Murphy moved closer to his goal Thursday when a key prospective primary contender decided to sit out the race.

State Senate President Stephen Sweeney said he would not vie for the governorship as Murphy racked up dozens of endorsements from elected officials statewide Thursday, including Red Bank Democrats.

Read More »

RED BANK: MENNA GRIPES HE WAS DISSED

pasquale menna 082416Mayor Pasquale Menna at Wednesday’s council meeting. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Things got snippy Wednesday night when Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna claimed he was being dissed by two council members.

A routine discussion over a scheduling question briefly turned into the latest in a recent series of episodes in which the mayor squared off against fellow Democrats Kathy Horgan and Ed Zipprich, and they aligned themselves with the council’s lone independent.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

RED BANK: BIG MOVE FOR BASIE BOARD

basie awards 051816 2Press release from The Count Basie Theatre

Amidst its $20 million dollar expansion and improvement plan, the Count Basie Theatre has announced the merging of its Board of Trustees and Directors and the hiring of a new Vice President of Development to join the newly appointed executive leadership team.

As a recognized 501(c)(3) organization, the Count Basie Theatre once operated under the guidance of two governing boards — one overseeing theater operations, and the other the non-profit’s fundraising efforts. With a single Executive Committee under the leadership of Chairman Tom Widener and Count Basie Theatre president and CEO Adam Philipson, the work to merge the boards into one, diverse and powerful force behind the theatre’s ambitious plans for the future have come to fruition.

“This is an auspicious, exciting moment for us at the Count Basie Theatre, said Board Chairman Tom Widener. “Merging the boards creates cohesion, clarity and focus at an important time in our history.”

Read More »

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.

Read More »

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.

Read More »

RED BANK: TAX HIKE TRIMMED ON A TWEAK

rb parking 041316 2A recent deal allowing the Count Basie Theatre to sell parking spots at borough hall on specified dates paved the way to a new budget.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesThe owner of a typical Red Bank home will pay $35 more in local property taxes this year, rather than $40, following passage of the first Republican-led budget in a generation Wednesday night.

The borough council’s unanimous approval of the 2016 spending plan marked the anticlimax to a brief standoff that began when Democrats raised eleventh-hour objections to  what they later called “‘fluff and ‘slush funds” in the GOP budget.

Read More »

RED BANK: DEMS TARGET ‘SLUSH FUNDS’

horgan schwabenbauer 101815Council members Kathy Horgan, left, and Linda Schwabenbauer, seen at last year’s Halloween parade, are now at odds over the budget. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesTwo weeks after it was shot down on the mayor’s tiebreaking vote, Red Bank’s first Republican-led budget in a generation faces its next test on Wednesday.

That’s when council members will square off over cuts suggested by Democrats to what they called “‘fluff’ and ‘slush funds.'”

Read More »

RED BANK: BUDGET FAILS ON TIEBREAKER VOTE

schwabenbauer menna 052516Mayor Pasquale Menna confers with Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer during the council’s budget deliberation Wednesday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesRed Bank’s first Republican-led budget in a generation failed to win approval when Mayor Pasquale Menna cast a tiebreaking vote at Wednesday night’s semimonthly council meeting.

His vote against the spending plan followed a 3-3 deadlock that included a “no” by a member of the budget-crafting finance committee, Democrat Kathy Horgan, whose caught committee chairwoman Linda Schwabenbauer, a Republican, by surprise.

Read More »

RED BANK: TAX INCREASE REDUCED

rb budget q&A 051816 1A half-dozen or so residents, outnumbered by borough employees and officials, attended the budget session. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

[Update, May 20: Visuals from this presentation are now available online here.]

By JOHN T. WARD

taxesA controversial increase in parking fees will trim the local property tax increase to less than half that previously anticipated, Red Bank officials said Wednesday.

At the annual informal budget presentation, held at borough hall, Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer said the spending plan scheduled for adoption next week calls for a two-percent tax increase, or about $35 for the year for the owner of a home assessed at the town-average $354,006. Read More »

RED BANK: ‘COMPROMISE’ PARKING HIKE OK’D

rb parking 051116 1Fees for parking in downtown lots would double, to $1 per hour, while metered spots on the street would rise 50 percent, to $1.50 an hour. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

LicPlate1Red Bank’s parking fees are going up.

The borough council approved rate increases Wednesday night, billing the action as a “compromise” with downtown business owners.

Still, merchants decried the hikes, which they said will further alienate potential visitors already turned off by metering, aggressive enforcement and costly tickets. Read More »

RED BANK: MAYOR’S BALL II DRAWS A CROWD

philipson menna 050616rb mayors ball 050616 12Mayor Pasquale Menna, above right, welcomed Count Basie Theatre CEO Adam Philipson, left, and more than 200 other guests to the second annual Red Bank Mayor’s Charity Ball at the Oyster Point Hotel Friday night. Proceeds from the $125-per-head event were earmarked for the borough-based nonprofits Lunch Break and HABcore

Check out the photos from redbankgreen’s drive-thru of the cocktail hour, below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

Read More »

RED BANK: TWO RIVER TOASTS ARTS ANGELS

Joan_and_Bob_Rechnitz_Ed_Zipprich_Ivan_PolonskyTwo River Theater Company co-founders Joan and Robert Rechnitz were joined on the evening of March 28 by Red Bank Councilman Ed Zipprich and philanthropist Ivan Polonsky, for the 2016-17 Season Announcement event at Two River’s Bridge Avenue arts center. Some 100 of the stage company’s major donors and supporters attended a special reception in the lobby prior to the 7:30 p.m. program, mingling with TRTC artistic director John Dias, Tony nominated actor-director Michael Cumpsty and other artists involved in the new slate of shows that begin in September 2016. A full rundown of the new schedule, including season subscription information, can be found here. (Photo by Teja Anderson)