By JOHN T. WARD
After sitting untouched and off-limits for nearly six years, Red Bank’s waterfront clay tennis courts got some attention from heavy equipment earlier this week.
And of course, the rumor mill lit up. Which means it’s time to call in redbankgreen‘s periodic feature known as What’s Going On Here?
The courts, located in Marine Park adjacent to the private Monmouth Boat Club, have been a fixture of the site for more than eight decades, but haven’t been playable since they were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
On Wednesday morning, the fence along the eastern side of the facility was gone, and the court surfaces had been scraped into piles by a earth-moving equipment.
So what’s up? According to borough Business Administrator Ziad Shehady, they’re simply getting long-overdue routine maintenance.
“All borough properties are finally now being subjected to routine parks and grounds maintenance,” Shehady said Thursday, in an email response to an inquiry by redbankgreen.
“As I’ve said at previous meetings, code enforcement is working to ensure residential and commercial properties maintain their property and the borough is doing the same so there is no double standard,” he wrote. “The former courts were overgrown with weeds, shrubs, vines, etc. Properties like that former courts that were in a state of neglect and an eyesore are being cleaned up.”
And beyond that? The courts have been part of a long and hotly-argued debate in recent years about the best use of Marine Park.
As previously reported, under a $41,000 contract entered last December with a the planning firm Kimley-Horn, a new plan for the 2.2-acre park is in the works. The firm unveiled concept plans in May, and said two additional public input sessions would be scheduled. The latest update to the borough’s Marine Park Improvement Project web page, however, still refers to a meeting that “will likely occur in June,” but never occurred.
Additionally, the borough council has yet to publicly move on narrowing the choices.
Shehady said Thursday that “there’s nothing to report on the Kimley-Horn process at this time.”
Councilman Erik Yngstrom, who has spearheaded the park makeover plan, did not respond to a request for comment.