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VALET, ROOFTOP DINING ON SUMMER MENU

park_it_021By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Sticking to their “open for business” push, Red Bank officials are working to roll out the red carpet for diners and drivers this summer season.

At Wednesday night’s council meeting, Mayor Pasquale Menna introduced two proposals to separate Red Bank from its primary Shore competitors, Asbury Park and Pier Village in Long Branch, and align itself more closely with places like Georgetown and New York City: valet parking and rooftop dining.

“It’s another step we’ve taken to indicate that Red Bank is open for business,”said Councilman Mike DuPont, who is leading a “red tape review” committee to make it easier for businesses to move into town.

The more feasible idea, to offer valet parking at participating restaurants, may come first.

Mayor Pasquale Menna said RiverCenter, the independent agency that promotes downtown businesses, will coordinate with the police department and restaurateurs to implement a valet parking service.

After 5 or 6 p.m., an employee hired by RiverCenter would take the keys from a downtown visitor, park the car in the Globe Court garage and return it when the customer is ready, he said.

“The restaurateurs are very much in favor of this,” Menna said. “We want to give it a try and experiment on it.”

Council President Art Murphy suggested RiverCenter, once it works out the complete details of the initiative, make a presentation of the plan to the police department to ensure everybody’s on the same page before the council gives the green light on it.

“Next thing you know, we’ve got orange cones on Broad Street,” he said.

The idea to offer rooftop dining will need a little more planning, Menna said.

Concerns about noise will need to be researched so nearby residences aren’t affected. Borough Engineer Christine Ballard and the construction department will also be consulted for input on design and safety criteria, he said.

Downtown Red Bank’s architecture lends itself to under-the-stars dining, though, and if it works in places like Manhattan and Georgetown, it can work in Red Bank, too, he said.

“It makes us different. It moves us ahead,” Menna said.

He wouldn’t say which restaurants are interested in putting people up top, but said, “it’s looked on favorably by those who own their buildings.”

He hopes to have both initiatives in place for the summer.

Meanwhile, DuPont’s red tape review is anticipated to be introduced at the council’s next meeting on May 25.

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