RED BANK: REDEVELOPMENT ON AGENDA

red bank nj emanuel courtEmanuel Court would be closed to vehicular traffic under a change up for introduction Wednesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe creation of a redevelopment agency for Red  Bank is among the items on the borough council’s agenda Wednesday night.

Also up for consideration at the semimonthly meeting: a smoking ban, and the closing of a driveway onto a busy street.

red bank, nj, emanuel courtA vehicle emerging from Emanuel Court recently. RiverCenter calls use of the driveway by cars a hazard to pedestrians. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

• The council will hold an adoption vote on a proposal to create a redevelopment agency. Here’s the ordinance.

The agency is expected to focus initially on borough facilities such as the public works yard on Chestnut Street, that are considered in need of immediate TLC. That focus was recommended recently by Ken DeRoberts, who heads a consulting firm that’s overseeing the agency’s creation.

Management Enhancement Report written last year by DeRoberts’ firm, Government Strategy Group, found that “one of the reasons… Red Bank seems to have become paralyzed in addressing its redevelopment issues is that the community has no person, office, or entity to provide leadership, focus, and drive to get things done.”

When the ordinance was introduced earlier this month, Councilman Michael Ballard was the sole ‘no’ vote. He has previously argued that redevelopment oversight should be managed in-house by Business Administrator Ziad Shehady.

• The alleyway known as Emanuel Court, which connects West Front Street to English Plaza, would be closed to vehicular traffic under an ordinance up for introduction.

The change was requested by downtown  promotion agency Red Bank RiverCenter, which has a $500,000 zero-interest loan from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs to make English Plaza safer for pedestrians and motorists alike. The narrow alleyway presents a potential hazard to pedestrians, the document says.

Plans call for the English Plaza lot to do double duty for occasional special events, such as farm markets, RiverCenter officials said at a presentation last September.

Also on the agenda:

• A ban on smoking in public places. Here’s the ordinance.

• A new contract granting Comcast a 10-year cable franchise. Here’s the ordinance.
• The one-year renewal of the lease on a 5,000-square-foot lot on South Pearl Street that’s used as the police impound yard. Here’s the ordinance.

Here’s the full agenda. The council meets at 6:30 p.m. in the first-floor council chamber at 90 Monmouth Street.