A rendering by architect Mike Simpson of the Red Bank Harbor proposal, as seen from the horseshoe marina at Marine Park. Below, Jetsun principals Doug Booton, Michael Hernandez and Anthony Jude Setaro at the Red Bank Mayor’s Charity Ball in May. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
Jetsun Enterprises is not proposing a “Coney Island” in Marine Park, the startup developer said Tuesday night, in response to criticism by Red Bank Councilman Mike DuPont and comments posted on redbankgreen.
“Comparing our proposal to any large theme park such as Coney Island or Seaside is both illogical and irresponsible,” Jetsun said in a press release. “We are offering small recreational activities for families, not building rollercoasters and ferris wheels. We are extending the existing promenade, not constructing a boardwalk.”An aerial plan for Jetsun proposal includes a row of buildings along the western edge of the park. (Click to enlarge)
The Jetsun plan, dubbed Red Bank Harbor, is one of two competing proposals to develop the site of the borough-owned red clay tennis courts in the park, which have been unplayable since they were swamped by the Navesink River during Hurricane Sandy. The other, dubbed the Marine Park Activity Center, calls for a conventional boathouse with a catering facility.
A third plan, funded by a $500,ooo donation by Jim Cullen, of Locust, would restore and upgrade the courts and provide a budget for maintenance.
The three plans were the only ones submitted in response to a request for proposals issued by the borough in March.
Jetsun, which already had a plan in the works, was founded by three men in their 30’s: Anthony Jude Setaro, Doug Booton and Mike Hernandez. They’ve joint-ventured with builder Lucas Construction on the proposal, which 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.
Calling the Jetsun “10 pounds of potatoes in a 5 pound bag,” DuPont wrote in a letter that the Red Bank Harbor proposal “puts every imaginable use down at Marine Park with the exception of not having a ferris wheel” and could turn Red Bank into “Coney Island South.”
DuPont said neither the borough’s 1995 Master Plans nor a 2006 Waterfront Plan “recommends, suggests or empowers the Mayor and Council to increase the uses of Marine Park.” Instead, he said, both encourage waterside activities and “an increase in access to the water and promotion and or passive uses.”
The Jetsun reply, emailed to redbankgreen Tuesday evening, claims that “it is very apparent that a good portion of the most vocal critics of our proposal are members of the special interest groups that are competing with us.”
From the Jetsun statement:
We have studied the Red Bank Master Redevelopment Plans from 1981 to present extensively and they played a large part in our creative process. All of them specifically state that Marine Park is grossly underutilized and should be a focal point of the commercial district and the town as a whole. They list many suggested uses and compare the park to famous locations from around the world. The 2006 Red Bank Waterfront Plan perfectly states on page 59 the point that is common across all of the master development plans; “Although there is an anecdotal sense of historic qualities and nostalgic attachment to the tennis courts in Marine Park, this is not an appropriate waterfront use. Tennis courts are only used in a limited capacity, and the few people who benefit from them do not justify the amount of valuable water frontage they consume.”
Jetsun, which proposes to lease the site from the town for 25 years at $75,000 per year, says it would generate $9.6 million in benefits to the town in that time, including $3.5 million worth of capital improvements.
Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer told redbankgreen that the three proposals had been “scored” according to criteria included in the request for proposals, and that she expected to send a memo of recommendation to the town council before its August 26 meeting. She declined to comment on DuPont’s comment that he had been “advised” that Jetsun would get the nod.
Here’s the full text of Jetsun’s press release: Jetsun press release 081115
And here’s the Jetsun proposal, minus financial information that is considered proprietary: Red Bank Harbor RFP 041515