red bank mckenna alley 081519 The town-owned alleyway off Boat Club Court would be renamed for ex-mayor Ed McKenna, seen below at a zoning board meeting in March. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)


red bank ed mckenna 032119An alleyway in downtown Red Bank will be named in honor of former mayor Ed McKenna, the borough council informally agreed Wednesday night.

The nameless alley, off Boat Club Court, runs between a row of stores fronting on West Front Street and a vacant lot that’s slated to become home to a new 10-unit luxury condo project.

mckenna dupontMcKenna with law partner and ex-councilman Mike DuPont during the borough’s centennial parade in 2008. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

Councilman Erik Yngstrom made the motion to honor McKenna by calling the street McKenna Way, which was seconded by Councilman Ed Zipprich. Both are Democrats, and Zipprich also serves as chairman of the local Democratic organization, in which McKenna is viewed as an elder lion.

The nameless street, which is only about 200 feet long, came to the fore last spring, when Denholtz Properties, based on Chestnut Street, won zoning board approval for Southbank, a condo project whose front entrance will face the alleyway.

The building will contain its own parking for tenants at ground level, beneath the condos. As part of the approval, Denholtz also agreed to provide a handful of public parking spots alongside the building on the alleyway, though officials didn’t know what to call it in legal documents. A fire lane is to be created on the opposite side.

McKenna did not respond to a request for comment from redbankgreen Thursday morning.

The renaming resolution is expected to be formally introduced at the next regular council session, scheduled for August 21.

With his election as a councilman in 1988, McKenna helped end decades of Republican control of borough government, kicking off a period of Democratic dominance that has continued with only one brief interruption ever since.

McKenna ended a 16-year run as mayor in December, 2006, a period in which he is credited with steering Red Bank out of a deep and worsening period of downtown vacancies.

McKenna’s detractors, though, often focus on his volatile temper and post-mayoralty run-ins with the law. In October, 2000, he was involved in a fender-bender at milepost 110 of the Garden State Parkway that raised questions about whether he had improperly left the scene before police arrived.

Nine years later, while driving on East Front Street, he struck and injured a pedestrian. McKenna was convicted of DWI in Tinton Falls in 2014 over an incident in which his car was alleged to have ended up facing oncoming traffic, also on the Parkway.

Prior to becoming mayor, McKenna, an attorney, served two years as a councilman, after beating an incumbent Republican in 1988. On the ticket with him was Pasquale Menna, who succeeded McKenna as mayor and still holds that position.