RUMSON LOOKING FOR FAIR HAVEN-TYPE LOVE

river-rd1A view of Rumson’s business district, which is being eyed for streetscape improvements. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Rumson officials were scratching their heads last year when they heard that their neighbor, Fair Haven, had received a load of grant money to make improvements to its business district on River Road.

After all, they had applied for near-identical upgrades, too. Fair Haven, though, got double what it asked for. Rumson, which also applied for federal stimulus funds, through the state Department of Transportation, didn’t get anything.

“We couldn’t quite figure it out, really. And Fair Haven got almost twice as much as they asked for,” Mayor John Ekdahl said. “We were flabbergasted.”

They’re not going to feel jilted over it, Ekdahl said. Instead, Rumson is again looking for some outside help to spruce up its bustling artery, River Road.

The borough has submitted an application to the state for about $400,000 in grant money for a River Road streetscape project, which would include improvements to the sidewalks, installation of benches and crosswalks, plus new lighting. Ekdahl said the targeted area for the enhancements is Rumson’s business district, between Brennan’s Delicatessen and Crazees ice cream shop.

Ekdahl says that stretch of road hasn’t seen serious work in about 20 years. Given that fact, he thinks Rumson has a better shot at pulling in some cash this year.

“A lot of towns have done it. We need some amenities, like benches, streetlights and crosswalks for safety,” he said. “We think it’s necessary.”

Ekdahl said the borough will likely get a decision back from the state in late November or early December.