By BRIAN DONOHUE
Red Bank’s council will decide this week whether to issue bonds to pay for sidewalk and safety improvements around the train station and to cover the growing cost of replacing lead water lines.
According to an agenda posted Tuesday, the council will vote Thursday on a bond ordinance that would authorize borrowing an additional $4.9 million to replace lead water lines on the West Side, a project that’s been going full-bore in recent weeks, with multiple street closures daily.
The new round of borrowing would bring total cost of the project so far to $8.8 million.
Officials previously put the cost of the project around $7 million – a difficult estimate because as work began last summer there were 1,000 properties at which the town did not know if the line was made of lead, requiring contractors to dig test pits for each one.
The money is being borrowed from a state program that forgives 50 percent of the principal on the loans if the work is done in a lower income area. The current work being done in the census tract west of Maple Avenue and south of Oakland Street qualifies.
The council will also vote on whether to issue $250,000 in bonds to help pay for curb and sidewalk improvements along Monmouth Street near the train station. The town’s borrowing will augment a $675,000 grant from the State of New Jersey Safety Streets to Transit Grant Program.
Other items on the council agenda include a resolution committing the town to the redevelopment of the former incinerator site on Sunset Avenue as a park within three years of wrapping up remediation work.
Plans to turn the area into a park have been floated for decades and are included in the town’s Master Plan, adopted last year, but soil contaminated by years of dumping has to be remediated first. The resolution is required as part of the town’s application for state environmental cleanup funds.
The council will also vote on a resolution “pledging to take steps toward sustainable land use.” The resolution includes a wide range of statements in favor of safer streets for pedestrians and cyclists and using zoning power in favor of green design and mixed use developments. The resolution also says the council will “re-evaluate our parking with the goal of limiting the amount of required parking spaces” and other measures.
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