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FIELD OF ‘THANKS, BUT NO THANKS’

NewturfRBC freshmen after a scrimmage at Count Basie Field last September.

Hey, Red Bank, wanna sell your stadium?

That was the gist of a letter sent recently to the borough board of education by Tim Fallon of Shrewsbury, acting in his capacity as an adviser to Red Bank Catholic High School on matters of long term strategy.

But the idea was summarily shot down by the board, which owns the field, at its meeting last night. After a brief discussion in which no members spoke in favor of the idea and several opposed it, president Peter Noble said he would instruct board attorney Richard McOmber to tell Fallon, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

redbankgreen beat McOmber to it.

“I just wanted to see if my idea had any traction,” Fallon told us, after we informed him about the discussion. “I guess it doesn’t.”

Fallon says his idea was purely exploratory, an attempt to see if the board would be willing to discuss a possible deal.

RBC leases Count Basie Field for athletic use, including home football games. It also owns a 5.5.-acre commercially zoned parcel on White Road in Little Silver where football practices are held.

Count Basie Field, though, is in a near-constant state of disrepair from overuse, local officials say. Which was why the borough council last September authorized an effort to obtain some grant money from Monmouth County’s Open Space program to help pay for what’s envisioned as a $1.15 million synthetic field.

Fallon says he doesn’t know where that effort stands, but he

wondered if RBC, which contributes to the field upkeep, might be better off just owning the facility. Any such deal would have to be contingent on RBC first selling its Little Silver acreage, he says.

“I just wanted to see if there was any interest in talking about this,” he says.

Board member Ben Forest, though, was quick to build a case against the idea, one that other board members echoed. He noted that the primary school is “at sea level,” raising the specter that it might someday need to be moved to the higher-ground stadium property.

More broadly, though, he argued that the fields is an asset that was too valuable to sell.

“We’re willing to work with the Catholic schools, but I don’t think we should transfer any real estate out” of the district, he said. “It’s a vital public resource for this town, and we’re entrusted to oversee and maintain it.”

Posted byJohn T. WardPosted inAll Good, Education, Government, Public Facilities, Real Estate, Sports

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