ON THE SKED: DUELING BLOCK PARTIES

elm-place-signParty central, as both Elm Place and Hudson Avenue residents have block parties in the works for Saturday.

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Summer’s officially over, but there’s one last bit of summer-style business to take care of in one particular corner of Red Bank.

That would be the annual block party. On Saturday, there are two within about 150 yards of each other. And one of them is telling other parts of the borough to come on by.

That’s the one on Elm Place, which starts at 3p. And the Elm Place folks don’t mess around with their event, which is in its eighth year. They Twitter, they Facebook, they have a website set up for people to check out and stay in the loop.

Janice Miholics, who organizes the party, says it’s a big deal for the street’s residents.

“It’s a way that we can close the street off and come out of the backyard,” she tells redbankgreen. “It’s the one time every year people really get together. Most people have come to look forward to it.”

Obviously it’s more of an opportunity to get to know or catch up with neighbors, but Miholics says the party’s open to anyone in Red Bank.

The second party, which starts at 5p, is just around the corner on Hudson Avenue. That one’s a residents-only affair.

Both events were among the earliest to be tested by newly tightened rules regarding block parties put into effect this year by the borough government.

To the surprise of Miholics, simply giving notice to the borough and the fire department didn’t quite cut it this year. She found out that she had to fill out an application and make sure everybody on the block was aware of the party.

She also had to go before the Special Events Committee to gain approval. The committee consists of representatives from the police, public works, volunteer fire and other departments, who review plans for safety, trash disposal and other considerations.

“It was a little more structured than I expected,” Miholics said.

Despite that seemingly annoying process, Red Bank Registrar Pamela Hughes Borghi said she doesn’t believe it has deterred any block parties from happening this year.

The new process was implemented in June, and since then four parties have taken place. There are normally six a year, but she suspects a couple took place before the new rules took effect.

“We’ve had positive [reactions] — that it’s actually helped the process,” Hughes Borghi said.

Doreen O’Donnell, an organizer of the Hudson event, is concerned that borough residents might be put off by the idea that the new rules will mean bureaucracy. In fact, while that was her initial reaction, she says the reality was much more pleasant than she’d expected.

“The special events committee really made it a breeze,” she says. “They literally walked us through the whole thing. It was painless.”

The paperwork certainly wasn’t going to keep Elm Place folks from their annual tradition, Miholics said.

“We’ve just kind of grown to be fond of not just each other, but what the town has to offer,” she said.