RED BAN RIVERCENTER LAURA KIRKPATRICK 030420Laura Kirkpatrick addressing the Red Bank council in March, 2020. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

[See UPDATE below]


For the second time in just 17 months, the downtown promotion organization Red Bank RiverCenter is losing its executive director.

After just one, pandemic-filled year, Laura Kirkpatrick has resigned as operational head of the agency that manages the borough’s special improvement district, redbankgreen has learned.

Kirkpatrick told redbankgreen Tuesday only that she would be “pursuing another opportunity,” and had informed the RiverCenter board Monday of her plan to leave May 21.

No immediate information on who might succeed Kirkpatrick was available.

UPDATE: After this story was posted, this comment was received from RiverCenter Chairman Stephen Catania, owner of the Cheese Cave:

We are sorry to see Laura depart RiverCenter. She has been a terrific asset to RiverCenter, initially as the Marketing Director and then assuming the Executive Director position upon the departure of Jim Scavone.
Laura began her tenure just before the pandemic and the enormous challenges that faced our business community. Laura navigated the necessary changes in the focus of her job responsibilities and effectively worked with our board, the borough and business owners to help keep Red Bank relevant. The implementation of Date Night, Broadwalk and Restaurant streateries were a success and will serve our community well for years to come.
We wish Laura continued success in her future and we are grateful for her valuable contributions.
The board will begin the search of a new Executive Director and a plan for the transition upon Laura’s departure.

The job entails managing a budget $532,000, funded by a surtax on commercial properties in the district, which extends from Broad Street to Bridge Avenue, mostly north of Monmouth Street. It also requires juggling the desires of some 400 downtown landlords, merchants and restaurateurs while leading efforts to promote both business investment and tourism in the district.

In the COVID-19 pandemic, RiverCenter has also worked with borough officials to implement the Broad Street pedestrian shopping and dining plaza known as Broadwalk, which began its second summer May 1.

In non-pandemic years, RiverCenter organizes outdoor events that draw tens of thousands of visitors town, include spring and fall food festivals; the annual Holiday Express concert and downtown light-up to kick off the Christmas season and more.

Prior to joining RiverCenter in March, 2018, Kirkpatrick held posts in Monmouth County government, where she directed tourism interests and served as the media spokesperson.

At RiverCenter, the Rumson resident ran the marketing and promotions operations for two years before she succeeded Jim Scavone as director in March, 2020.

RiverCenter recently amended its bylaws, after some pushback by the council. The agency’s budget is up for approval by the council May 26.

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