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RED BANK: NEW ‘PASSIVE PARK’ ON AGENDA

red-bank-senior-center-031221-3-500x332-2608816A 2021 view of the rear of the Senior Center, which overlooks the Swimming River. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot-topic_03-220x138-220x138-7378486A proposal to subdivide the Senior Center property to create a “passive park” is on the Red Bank council’s agenda Wednesday night.

Also on the table for the semimonthly meeting are matters relating to parking, parks and a committee name change. Here’s what to expect.

red-bank-anderson-200-monmouth-042222-500x375-5954450Parking in front of 200 Monmouth Street, home of Sickles Market and other businesses, would be metered under a change up for a council vote. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

• A resolution proposed by Councilman Michael Ballard would, if approved, authorize the borough to initiate steps to subdivide the Senior Center property, which overlooks the Swimming River from 80 Shrewsbury Avenue.

The effort “is part of a multi-step process to separate the Senior Center building from the land that surrounds it into distinct parcels, both owned by the Borough, then converting the land portion into a permanent outdoor passive park on the Swimming River for all residents to enjoy,” Ballard told redbankgreen via email Tuesday.

Ballard said he was hoping to move the council beyond the “empty promises” of a February, 2021 resolution in which the governing body affirmed its commitment “to public acquisition, ownership and management of riverfront properties.”

Since then, he said, he has been “working with the New Jersey DEP and ultimately with the new Borough Attorney to finally put in motion the necessary actions to create what will soon be another beautiful public park on the Red Bank waterfront.”

• An $870,000 bond ordinance, approved in February, toward anticipated $1.9 million. in costs for repairs to the Senior Center, would be amended to allow for “improvements to various municipal facilities.”

According to interim Administrator Darren McConnell, the borrowing anticipated that $400,000 to $500,000 would be available for other municipal purposes. “This amendment to the ordinance will allow us to reallocate those remaining funds for other uses,” he said.

Those uses, however, “are not all determined at this point,” he told redbankgreen. “There are some needs at Borough Hall involving plumbing and HVAC as well as a project at the library that is being awarded.”

• Free parking would be replaced by metered parking on stretches of Monmouth Street, Bridge Avenue and Oakland Street under a proposed ordinance amendment.

McConnell said the change would add about 19 meters to the area around the train station.

“Over the past several years that immediate area has changed with new development and the use of those spaces has increased, making the implementation of metered parking appropriate,” he said.

As a result of the plan, the entire length of Monmouth Street would be metered.

• Another change would reclassify select downtown parking spaces, some as available for parking, and others not.

McConnell said the changes constitute “housekeeping. Over time, particularly during COVID, some short-term parking was added or moved to meet those temporary needs. We are just now cleaning up the ordinance and reallocating some spaces to better meet the current conditions and demand.”

• A $37,500 contract with CME Associates for engineering work on phase three of improvements to Eastside Park.

McConnell: “Phase III will be an upgrade to the large baseball field at Count Basie Park, similar to the recent upgrades at Eastside Park. These phases were funded through different Open Space grants over a number of years. Those upgrades have been at both Count Basie Park and Eastside Park, hence the title listing Eastside Park although in this particular case the upgrades are actually at Count Basie. I would expect the actual work on Phase III to occur sometime in late 2023 but that is dependent on when the grant is awarded and then the subsequent design and awarding of the project.”

• The Human Relations Advisory Committee‘s name would be changed to the Community Engagement and Equity Advisory Committee under an ordinance amendment up for introduction.

Here’s the full agenda. The meeting is scheduled to be conducted both in-person and via Zoom beginning at 6:30 p.m. Access and participation details can be found here.

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