By JOHN T. WARD
The project, dubbed the Marine Park Activity Center, reflects the traditional river-oriented focus of two groups – Navesink River Rowing club and the Navesink Maritime Heritage Association – anchored by a structure similar to boathouses in West Windsor and Camden, its proponents said.
redbankgreen detailed another of the three plans, called Red Bank Harbor, on Wednesday. The third proposal consists solely of an individual’s offer to donate $500,000 to the borough for the restoration of the site as a red-clay tennis facility, redbankgreen has learned.
MPAC’s year-round facility would continue programs offered by NRR in rowing and the NMHA in boat-building, respectively, while adding canoe and kayak rentals, environmental science instruction and adaptive rowing and sailing for the physically challenged, according to the proposal.
It would also include a 9,000-square-foot banquet hall available for weddings and other events, said Sandy Talarico, one of MPAC’s four founding owners, all of whom are also members of the rowing club or the heritage group. But neither NRR nor NMHA is a stakeholder in the limited liability company they formed, and the group has no formal agreements with those organizations, she said.
The banquet facility would offer a panoramic view of the river similar to one available from the second-story deck of the neighboring Monmouth Boat Club, said Talarico.
“Does it get any better, sitting on that porch?” she asked.
The proposal cites as inspiration the Camden County Boathouse on the Cooper River; the Caspersen Rowing Center Boathouse, home to the Princeton National Rowing Association, on Mercer Lake, in West Windsor; and the Mercer County Park Marina and Boathouse, also on Mercer Lake.
The two county-owned facilities feature banquet halls available for rent, and the Mercer County one is expected to soon generate $15,000 a month in catering rentals, Talarico said officials there told MPAC.
MPAC, which began working on its own plan last July, seven months before Red Bank put out a request for proposals for the tennis court site, is seeking non-profit status and would support the project through fundraising and via revenue generated onsite, Talarico said. The LLC’s four principals are Talarico, of Little Silver; and Linda Ensor, Phil Flego and Gayle Horvath, all of Red Bank.
Their plan was one of three filed by Wednesday’s deadline set by the borough council, which will have final say over which, if any, plan the town might move ahead with.
As reported by redbankgreen, the Red Bank Harbor plan, drafted by a startup development firm, Jetsun Enterprises, calls for a privately funded, $3.5 million, multi-sport recreation facility featuring an 18-hole miniature golf course, a synthetic ice rink, a boathouse for rental of paddleboats and kayaks, and a concession stand.
Like the MPAC proposal, Jetsun’s is contingent on the developers entering into a lease agreement with the town.
The third proposal was filed by James Cullen, of Locust. The 77-year-old money manager told redbankgreen on Thursday that he first played tennis at the site four or five years ago, after becoming enamored of red-clay play while attending a tournament in Monte Carlo.
His donation calls for no major capital improvements at the site, he said.
“There’ll be no lights – just keeping it sort of low-profile, like it was,” he said. He asked that the town retain Rich Nicoletti, who learned to play there in the 1950s, as the manager of the facility.
The tennis courts have been closed since they were damaged by Hurricane Sandy. The town’s search for concept plans began earlier this year, amid suggestions that the site be used as a dog run.
Here are all three proposals: