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RED BANK: STUDENTS RETHINK MONMOUTH ST.

red-bank-student-plans-121718-7-500x332-8321278Curtis McDaniel discussing the concept plan he co-created, showing an eastward view along Monmouth Street. Below, developer Todd Herman comments on a student pitch. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

triggiano-todd-herman-121718-220x146-1847714Assignment: come up with new design concepts to enliven the stretch of Monmouth Street between the train station and borough hall in Red Bank.

The response: lots of new apartments, rooftop bars, hidden parking decks, pockets of greenery and even an amphitheater across the street from the Count Basie Center for the Performing Arts.

red-bank-student-plans-121718-10-500x332-4444445Joana Maziarz presenting a plan she created with Trevor Jurkowski, above, and below, a westward view of Monmouth Street as envisioned by Trevor Matthews and June Diep. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

matthews-diep-121718-220x136-6510180As part of a “design studio” taught by borough resident and former Jersey City planner Maryann Bucci-Carter, eight pairs of students from the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University were tasked with just that assignment earlier this semester.

On Monday, they presented their ideas to an ad hoc panel of borough volunteers that included two developers, an architect, members of various boards and Mayor Pasquale Menna.

The challenge, Bucci-Carter told redbankgreen, was “to see what’s possible” for a one-third-of-a-mile stretch of street that’s anchored by the the train station and two large performance spaces, but lacks the vitality of the rest of the downtown.

What’s possible, the students responded, is lots of redevelopment involving high-density housing above stores and offices.

Students Julio Mora and Tristan Harrison, for example, proposed new development stepping down in density from the train station east, with parking garages hidden behind new buildings. A new park in front of the station would have a food-truck pullover area.

Another plan would level Mayo’s auto repair garage and replace it with a park; “we felt Red Bank was in dire need of a park here,” Arcelio Aponte told the panel of the plan he crafted with Ramon Ponce. Yet another would put a four-story building there, with a rooftop bar offering views of the Navesink River.

Trevor Jurkowski and Joana Maziarz offered perhaps the most unexpected idea: an amphitheater on what’s now the borough hall parking lot, across from the Basie.

Business Administrator applauded the Jurkowski-Maziarz plan, adding that as part of the creation of an overall redevelopment plan for the downtown, “one thing we’re contemplating is the economic rationale” of keeping borough hall on a site that could have high value as a ratable.

Some of the plans incorporated bike lanes, while one suggested a narrow rain garden between the the street and sidewalk; all aimed to take advantage of the walkability of the town.

There was apparent unanimity about the relatively new Station Place apartments at Monmouth and West streets: “a lot of us didn’t like that building,” Jurkowski said.

Menna called the presentations “thought-provoking,” and told one pair of students that they “picked up on a lot of the vibes and elements that our residents and businesses have been asking for.”

Councilwoman-elect Kate Triggiano encouraged the students not to water-down their “bold” visions.

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