Carl Alderson chats with Gayle Horvath at borough hall Monday night. That’s Doreen Illis, left, and Cindy Burnham in the background.
A contingent of kayakers and others with an interest in river access turned out at Monday night’s Red Bank council meeting to again implore local officials to preserve, and maybe even install a sign at, the Maple Cove property.
Also at the bimonthly session: a nine-year-old girl sought help for pedestrians trying to get across Shrewsbury Avenue; a pair of state Department of Environmental Protection engineers gave a quick overview of the Marine Park bulkhead restoration project; and a resolution calling for the right of gays to marry was tabled.
Among the handful of attendees who spoke in favor of preserving the borough-owned lot at the foot of Maple Avenue was Carl Alderson, an Atlantic Highlands resident and engineer for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration at Sandy Hook. Alderson told the council the federal agency provides engineering services and grant money to municipalities for the purpose of preserving coastal land.
“We’re giving away $180 million to $190 million a year,” he said. “We have some grant money.”
A beaming Mayor Pasquale Menna asked Alderson for his business card. “It’s welcome news,” he said.
Cara Forest, a student at the Red Bank Middle School, told the council that a fix was needed at or near the intersection of Locust and Shrewsbury avenues, where heavy traffic and an absence of a light or stop sign make pedestrian crossings difficult.
“It’s really hard to get across the street,” she said. “Something could happen.”
She asked that the borough do something. “Maybe like stop lights that don’t use a lot of electricity could be useful,” she said.
Menna replied that the borough was looking into a variety of traffic calming measures and would be putting them before officials for Monmouth County, as Shrewsbury Avenue is a county road.
Kara’s mother, Amy Goldsmith, raised questions about the wisdom of renaming Locust Avenue in honor of the late Daniel J. O’Hern, the former mayor and state Supreme Court associate justice who grew up there.
“I understand the desire to memorialize someone who’s so important to the town,” Goldsmith said. “But there’s been no communication to the people in the neighborhood.”
Menna told her that while the name change would be legal, not ceremonial, that both names would remain in effect, and that residents could choose which to use. But Goldsmith said that would be “confusing.”
At the suggestion of Councilman Michael DuPont, Menna said he would direct the administration to send a letter to Locust Avenue property owners letting them know about the plan and soliciting their feedback.
The resolution in favor of gay rights in the realm of marriage and employment was temporarily withdrawn by its sponsor, Councilman Ed Zipprich, for rewriting, Menna said.
The council also introduced an ordinance that would increase the amount of borrowing associated with the Marine Park bulkhead job by close to $200,000. Engineer Christine Ballard told redbankgreen that the figure mostly reflects the cost of replacing pilings in the horseshoe-shaped cove that boaters use to tie up their boats. The state won’t pay for those, she said.
The project calls for a steel bulkhead to replace 1,050 linear feet of rotted wood bulkheading. Work is scheduled to begin shortly after July 4 and is expected to wrap up next February, DEP engineer Brett Bailey said.
The job, which also calls for a new sidewalk, lighting and security cameras. is budgeted at $3.36 milion, with the state picking up 75 percent of the shared costs. Nearly half of Red Bank’s obligation will be picked up by Monmouth County, bringing the borough’s portion of the tab to about $700,000.