maple-cove-kayakersKayakers putting into the Navesink River at the Maple Cove Sunday evening. (Click to enlarge)

An ongoing battle over a couple of benches and sign proposed for installation on public property at Red Bank’s Maple Cove may be headed toward a peaceful conclusion.

Then again, it could be that Mayor Pasquale Menna just thrust himself into the middle of the conflict, which has increasingly pitted the borough administration against a group of kayak and canoe enthusiasts.

Today’s Asbury Park Press reports that Menna “committed to getting the sign and benches installed by the end of the year” after being asked about them by the newspaper.

The pledge would appear to conflict with assertions by the borough administration that it is handcuffed by state Department of Environmental Protection regulations regarding the waterfront site at Navesink River terminus of Maple Avenue.

Last month, after kayaker and activist Cindy Burnham extracted an offer from the DEP to visit the site and make a determination if benches and a sign could be installed without expensive engineering work and permitting, borough Administrator Stanley Sickels wrote to the state agency to says thanks but no thanks, according to the Press.

From the article:

“We would object to any action being taken in response to Ms. Burnham’s letter,” he wrote. “Ms. Burnham has not been authorized by the borough to make any application on the borough’s behalf.”

Sickels and members of the borough council have said in the past that it could cost the borough some $80,000 in engineer’s fees just to to determine if benches and a sign might be allowed on the property.

The one-acre site is the only place in Red Bank where the public can gain direct access to the river without climbing down a steep bluff or getting permission from a private property owner.