CHRISTMAS TREE STAYING PUT

dub-tree-2008A hasty push to move Red Bank’s traditional Christmas tree to Riverside Gardens Park for the coming holiday season failed Thursday night as town officials balked over questions about proper review.

Gripes from the public led downtown promoter Red Bank RiverCenter to ask the borough council for permission to relocate the tree – shown at right being removed after the 2007 season – which has been displayed for years in the Monmouth Street courtyard of the Dublin House, said executive director Nancy Adams.

“We’re getting complaints every year from residents to move it someplace that, frankly, is not a bar,” she said. “We want to make the residents happy.”

Moving it, however, would require getting the massive tree through or around the park’s entry archway. It might also mean jackhammering an anchor hole into the granite esplanade, said town Administrator Stanley Sickels.

Though Adams said she was under another impression, Councilman Art Murphy said the proposal had raised concerns among members of the borough Special Events committee, comprised of town department heads and others.

RiverCenter officials said they were looking for a sense of the council in advance of the committee’s next meeting, because an OK by the committee would have to be followed by one from the council itself. But the prospective donor of a tree that wouldn’t fit at the Dub, and the owners of the Dub themselves, needed an answer before then so they could make plans.

That had council members shaking their heads.

“I think it’s a bad location,” said Councilman Mike DuPont.

“It’s more than a hole in the ground,” said Murphy. “There’s more to it than that.”

The Dub display puts the tree on the route of an annual parade from the train station to the Broad Street Christmas concert by Holiday Express, this year scheduled for the night of November 25. At other times during the holiday shopping season, it serves as a draw, said Councilwoman Sharon Lee.

“We need to encourage people to use the Monmouth Street corridor,” she said.

For 2012, Mayor Pasquale Menna encouraged RiverCenter to consider putting the tree on borough property at the war veteran’s monument in front of 51 Monmouth Street, at the corner of Drummond Place. “It’s a nice, picture-postcard location,” he said.

RiverCenter officials said they would look into the feasibility of the idea.