By JOHN T. WARD
Still taking small steps, Red Bank’s new Redevelopment Agency advanced on its goal of giving municipal properties some long-overdue attention Tuesday.
In a 20-minute meeting, agency members agreed to begin the process of assessing the condition of borough real estate holdings.
• The nine-member committee, funded with a $30,000 seed budget, authorized consultant Joe Hartnett of Government Strategy Group to prepare a request for qualifications for an engineer and architect, who in turn would conduct a review of borough facilities.
GSC’s Ken DeRoberts, who along with Hartnett as a consultant to the agency, was not present Tuesday. In a Management Enhancement Report written by GSC in early 2018, borough facilities were described by an anonymous commenter as “a disaster,” and the borough council formed the committee earlier this year in part to look for ways to enhance them. [Correction: The original version of this report incorrectly identified DeRoberts as the agency’s executive director; that position is held by borough Business Administrator Ziad Shehady.]
• Hartnett also told agency members he’s preparing an RFQ for what he termed a “threshold analysis.”
“What that entails is examining the entire community to see what areas would meet the statutory thresholds for A, an area in need of redevelopment, and/or B, an area in need of rehabilitation, so you know what is even eligible in the community for you to carry out your mission,” he said.
The eventual report is expected to lay the groundwork for efforts to redevelop underutilized properties, including borough hall, the public works yard on Chestnut Street and the White Street parking lot.
• Harnett said he’s also finalizing a request for qualifications for a financial advisor to review any development proposals.
• Business Administrator Ziad Shehady said he had met with a developer “who had an idea” and approached borough officials for a confidential discussion.
Shehady did not identify the developer, who he said was “just picking our brains and looking at what ideas might be acceptable to the borough before he goes ahead and spends a lot more money on design and professionals.”
• The agency nailed down the wording of its mission statement, the text of which was not immediately available, and tweaked the wording of a “goals and objectives” statement, which is still in draft form.
The agency’s next scheduled meeting is at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, August 27, in the council chamber at borough hall, 90 Monmouth Street.