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PINK LINE: RUMSON SAYS ‘PAINT IT BLACK’

The fading pink stripe on East River Road in Rumson, as seen Wednesday morning. (Click to enlarge)

By CONNOR SOLTAS

As it did in the past in Red Bank, a pink road stripe painted on the main drag through Fair Haven and Rumson in celebration of Pink Week back in May is beginning to lose its charm.

“Rumson wants to know when the pink line is going to go away,” said Rumson Mayor John Ekdahl.

As part of its annual breast cancer awareness event known as Pink Week, Riverview Medical Center painted a pink line over the asphalt on Broad Street and Front Street in Red Bank and River Road through much of Fair Haven and Rumson.

Some in Rumson, feeling the pink has outstayed its welcome, are turning purple over the issue. While eager to cooperate with Riverview Medical’s event, Ekdahl said he had expected the line to vanish within three to four weeks.

“If we were told it would be there for six months, we’d never have allowed it, but since they told us it was three weeks, you’d kind of look like a heel if you said no,” he said. “We’re still waiting for it to go away.”

Two years ago, after the lingering line generated grumbling from Red Bank business owners and shoppers, the borough “requested” that the hospital get rid of it in a timely manner, and last year “required” removal as a condition of approval, said borough public works director Gary Watson. Last year, a contractor using a grinder scraped up the line; this year, it’s been covered over with black paint.

Ekdahl said he felt the organizers should have assumed same responsibility in Rumson, too.

“I think if we were aware of that, we would’ve done something similar,” he said. “I’m not sure why they would go back and paint over the line in one town and not the others. It doesn’t seem fair to treat one town differently than the others.”

Riverview does, in fact, plan to paint over the entire line’s length, said Riverview spokesman Tom Paolella. Red Bank-based Liberty Line Striping performs the job on a volunteer basis, so “the towns understand it can take several weeks to get the repainting done, because there’s literally miles and miles of line” he said.

No definite schedule exists to cover the line. Paolella said Liberty Line Striping will re-paint the Rumson and Fair Haven sections “as soon as they’re able to.”

In the meantime, businesses and locals seem not to mind the pink. redbankgreen spoke to several business managers along the road in both towns, all of whom declined to comment after stating a lack of concern for the issue.

Neither did the line’s continued existence bother Fair Haven’s borough administrator Theresa Casagrande.

“Last year, they returned in a timely fashion and striped back over it in black,” she said. “It was always my impression that the striping companies would come back and paint over it.”

Ekdahl added it was Rumson’s first experience working with “Paint the Town Pink.”

In the six years the pink stripe has had a role in the event, Paolella said the towns have always been accommodating.

“They will be repainted,” Paolella said of the streets.

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