MENNA PLANS RIVERFRONT COMMITTEE

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Property near Chapin Avenue is among several segments of the waterfront that could have trails, according to the Waterfront Plan.

Putting the recently released Waterfront Plan into effect won’t happen without the state ponying up some big open-space bucks, says Mayor Pasquale Menna.

But he’s moving ahead and putting together a citizen’s committee to “undertake the public hearing process” that would lead to necessary changes in the borough’s master plan, today’s Asbury Park Press reports.

“We’ll probably announce, in the next three weeks or less, a citizens committee to undertake the public hearing process,” Menna’s quoted as saying.

As redbankgreen reported in July, when iit was issued, the plan is a series of blue-sky concepts to improve public access and use of the Navesink an Swimming river banks.

Prepared by a Philadelphia urban planning firm, the document envisions access trails to various waterfront locations, trails that loop back on themselves along the riverbank, a walkway between Marine Park and Oyster Point, and significant upgrades to Marine Park itself. An ambitious new park near the Galleria is also proposed.

The report’s suggestion that the borough-owned clay tennis courts in Marine Park be moved gets a good deal of attention in the Press story, none of it favorable.

From the story:

Of particular concern to [Williams Street resident Chuck] Watson and other residents interviewed is the report’s recommendation to eliminate and move the four Marine Park clay tennis courts. Some are skeptical that the courts will be rebuilt elsewhere if they are moved from Marine Park and contend that they add as much to the park as the river view.

“I’d hate to see it done. It would take away from the beauty of the park,” said Rich Nicoletti, tennis pro at the borough courts. “I can’t see that coming to an end. It (the report) didn’t say where they relocate (the courts to).”

Nicoletti said there are 103 tennis court members, but that more people who pay as they go use the courts. Clay courts are preferable to play on because they are easier on the body, he said.

“I oppose moving them unless I can be convinced it is doable and viable,” said Watson, who’s played on the courts for about 10 years. “Is there even a space in Red Bank to even move them to?”

The Press adds that the citizens committee will review the report, hold a public hearing and make its own recommendations to the Planning Board for possible inclusion in the open space portion of the master plan. Ultimately, the mayor and council will decide how that plan is amended, Menna said.

Menna has hopes that if voters pass a statewide $200 million open-space referendum on the ballot on Nov. 6, the borough can tap into some of that funding to start to make the plan reality.

“I’ve invited the state to continue to focus on providing funding and to consider regional solutions,” Menna said. “We are a hub, and we recognize the responsibility to Red Bank residents and the area in general to provide recreational activities and open space, but we can’t do it alone.”

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