RED BANK: COUNCIL PULLS U-TURN ON ALLEY

red bank mckenna alley 081519A view of the nameless alley from Boat Club Court. Condos are to be built on the vacant lot at left. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njA downtown Red Bank alleyway won’t be named for former mayor Ed McKenna after all.

Instead, it will be named ‘Ice Boat Lane,’ to honor the North Shrewsbury Ice Boat & Yacht Club, located just yards away.

red bank ed mckennaEx-mayor Ed McKenna at the borough reorganization meeting in January. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

At issue is a nameless alley, off Boat Club Court, that runs between a row of stores fronting on West Front Street and a vacant lot that’s slated to become home to Southbank, a 10-unit luxury condo project by developer¬† Denholtz Properties.

Though a proposed ordinance that would have formalized the designation of the alley as ‘Edward J. McKenna Jr. Way’ drew some criticism last month, elected officials said the latest change was unrelated to that reaction.

Council President Erik Yngstrom, who had suggested naming the street for McKenna, told redbankgreen after the council’s semimonthly regular meeting Wednesday night that McKenna had asked that the council not do so.

“He really was very humble and just didn’t want any streets named after him,” Yngstrom said. “So out of respect to his wishes, we switched it over to Ice Boat Lane.”

Public criticism of the change “really didn’t sway us,” Yngstrom said. “It was more former Mayor McKenna’s wishes.”

“He just didn’t want it,” said Councilwoman Kate Triggiano.

McKenna, who has not previously responded to redbankgreen requests for comment on the renaming, was not present at the council meeting.

In announcing the change at the start of the meeting, Mayor Pasquale Menna said the new name “correctly reflects the location” of the street, which is just up Boat Club Way from the iceboat club on the Navesink River.

The borough’s official symbol, he noted, includes a depiction of an iceboat.

Among the objectors last month was Allison Gregory, who’s running for council as a Republican for the second consecutive year. On Wednesday, she thanked the council for dropping the plan, but still gave Menna a letter from Richard Mallow, New York and New Jersey executive director of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, who wrote that McKenna’s conviction on a DWI charge in Tinton Falls in 2014 made him “not only a poor role model” but “not worthy of such an honor.”

The North Shrewsbury Ice Boat & Yacht Club was formed in December, 1880. According to a club officer quoted by redbankgreen in 2007, its clubhouse, believed to have originally been an outbuilding for the now-gone Union House hotel, was moved in 1883 to a site directly south of the Monmouth Boat Club, and in 1923 moved again a few hundred feet west to its present location. It is listed on the New Jersey Register of Historic Places.

The renaming ordinance is slated for an adoption vote at the council’s September 25 session.