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Search Results for: gary watson public works

TASK FORCE: CHARGE FOR FIREWORKS VIEW

umbrellaSpectators, like these in Riverside Gardens Park at the 2010 show, would have to pay a ‘nominal’ entry fee to watch the fireworks, a study suggests. (Click to enlarge)

shouldersBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Red Bank’s KaBoom fireworks may no longer be free — and as freewheeling — as they’ve been in recent years.

The ad hoc Kaboom! Task Force, formed in September to conduct a top-to-bottom examination of the annual event delivered its final report to the borough council Wednesday night.

The diagnosis: change is needed.

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WATSON: KEEPING IT CLEAN

Watson_gary_81807Still on the streets: Gary Watson Sr.

Today’s Asbury Park Press profiles Gary Watson Sr., a Red Bank kid who rose through the ranks of the borough police department, retired, and came back five years ago in civvies to help run the town.

He’s now the deputy business administrator and acting public works director, overseeing trash pickup and recycling, snow removal, road road maintenance and parking.

The Press’ Larry Higgs reports that in his 27 years as a cop, Watson held every position except chief — a job that was also his for the taking:

He was offered the top job but turned it down, Mayor Pasquale Menna said.

“There was a time when one of our chiefs retired, and I was part of the council, we actually offered Gary the opportunity to assume the position of chief,” Menna said. “He declined it. And he didn’t decline because he didn’t think he could do the job. He declined it because he thought there were other people who had served a little bit longer who deserved the opportunity before him.”

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SALARIES OK’D, INCLUDING WATSON’S

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Public Works Director Gary Watson’s $10,000 pay raise was greenlighted by the borough council last night over ‘no’ votes by the two Republicans on the governing body, John Curley and newcomer Grace Cangemi.

The increase was part of a slate of 3.5-percent pay raises approved for non-unionized borough employees, from Planning Board secretary, whose pay rises to $2,153, to $104,008 for a construction/fire official.

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RED BANK: FILM RECYCLING STILL ON, FOR NOW

White pails for the program were distributed in 2021. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topicYes, Red Bank will collect plastic film for recycling Wednesday, despite the recent end of a one-year pilot program, a borough official told redbankgreen.

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RED BANK: BYLAWS TO GET COUNCIL REVIEW

Councilmembers Michael Ballard, center, John Jackson, left, and Ed Zipprich at the January 4 reorganization session. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njA controversial set of bylaws that were rushed into adoption will get a review by Red Bank’s council later this month, members of its majority bloc said last week.

At the council’s first session following adoption of the bylaws, Council President Michael Ballard acknowledged that the governing body had already done a “horrible job” sticking to its own rules.

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RED BANK: DPU HEAD OUSTED

Cliff Keen on Broad Street last June. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njAt its first working session of 2023, the Red Bank council fired public utilities director Cliff Keen Wednesday night.

Unmentioned at the meeting: he was replaced on an interim basis, at a cost of $16,500 per month, by Gary Watson Sr., whom Keen succeeded in 2016.

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ON THE GREEN: BLIZZARD WATCH ISSUED

BROAD ST 122810Broad Street in Red Bank following a December, 2010 snowstorm. Below, a forecast map from the National Weather Service indicates a snowfall of 14 inches is “most likely” in on the Greater Red Bank Green this weekend, but could range as high as 22 inches. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

snow forecast 012116The National Weather Service issued a weekend blizzard watch Thursday morning for the region that includes the Greater Red Bank Green.

Late in the morning, crews from the Red Bank public utilities began laying salt brine on every street in town in an effort to keep the roads safe and delay the start of plowing efforts, DPU director Cliff Keen told redbankgreen.

“I think we’re ready,” said Keen, who’s overseeing his first snow challenge since replacing Gary Watson as department head last month. Most of the department’s staff was also on board for the 2010 blizzard, he notes.

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RED BANK: NEW TRUSTEES GET THEIR FEET WET

rbpl trustees 050114 Mayor Pasquale Menna, right, swears in new library board members in the Eisner Room. Sara Hansen, center below, with Elizabeth McDermott and Steve Hecht, was chosen board president. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

sara hansen 050114Members of the Red Bank Public Library’s newly reconstituted board of trustees board got a real-life introduction to the challenges they’ll face Wednesday night.

On a tour of the library during a downpour one day before they were  sworn into their posts, trustees witnessed rainwater coming through the ceiling and flooding the basement.

“I wanted board members to see the building,” acting library director Elizabeth McDermott told redbankgreen. What they saw was the hasty deployment of trash cans to catch water dripping from above and “a couple of inches” of water inundating the basement of the former Eisner mansion portion of the srtucture, thanks to faulty drainage from an exterior stairwell.

“It was up to here” in the stairwell, said new trustee Beth Hanratty, indicating a point just below her knee.

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RED BANK: ASPHALT IS ‘VICTORY’ TO PLOWMAN

rb snow 012214 3The view looking south on Leighton Avenue through the windshield of a borough salt truck early Wednesday morning, above. Below, a plow working Monmouth Street. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb snow 012214 1The  plowman got lucky this time.

Tuesday’s fast-moving snowstorm may have caught motorists and school administrators off guard with its blinding swiftness. But it dropped a powdery load, and ended late at night, giving those responsible for clearing it from roadways a leg up.

In Red Bank, it also helped that more residents than usual moved their cars off the streets, said Gary Watson, director of the borough public utilities department.

“That made a huge difference,” he told redbankgreen as he drove a road-salting truck early Wednesday morning.

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RED BANK: PARTIAL WALL COLLAPSE IN PARK

The brick fascia of a retaining wall at Riverside Gardens Park in Red Bank collapsed recently during a heavy rainstorm, eight months after it was undermined by Hurricane Sandy, public works director Gary Watson tells redbankgreen. His department is awaiting borough funding to repair the wall, which is structurally sound, Watson said. “It’s completely cosmetic,” he said of the damage.

Additional fixes to address runoff  from the park may also be needed, he says. (Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: WATER LINE BREAKS ON EAST SIDE

A water main break at Harding Road and Spring Street in Red Bank Monday morning. Spring Street was closed between Harding and Elm Place. (Click to enlarge)

Red Bank’s borough government issued a “boil water” alert following a supply line break on the East Side Monday morning.

Public works director Gary Watson tells redbankgreen that a six-inch line, not a 10-inch main, ruptured at Harding Road and Spring Street at about 6 a.m. Water service was shut to two homes on Spring Street and the Manor Drive condominium complex while a contractor makes repairs, expected to be completed by about 3 p.m., he said.

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SPEAKING OF DE ICE…

Salt brine laid down in a wavy pattern on Brown Place, near Branch Avenue, above, and bending around the corner at Hudson Avenue and Harding Road, below. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

In anticipation of the season’s second “snow event,” Red Bank is trying out a new road de-icer, which has left the town’s streets marked with what appears to be parallel chalk lines.

“I’m exposing my new, artistic side,” quips public works department director Gary Watson.

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DANGER: FALLING LIMBS AT BELLHAVEN

David Prown came across this sign at Bellhaven Park on Locust Avenue in Red Bank while walking Friday afternoon. According to Gary Watson, director of the borough’s public works department, two trees, one at each entrance to the park, have died and “they’re dropping large branches and we don’t want anyone to get hurt,” he said. The trees will be removed as quickly as possible so that the park may reopen soon, he said. (Photo by David Prown. Click to enlarge)

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PINK LINE: RUMSON SAYS ‘PAINT IT BLACK’

The fading pink stripe on East River Road in Rumson, as seen Wednesday morning. (Click to enlarge)

By CONNOR SOLTAS

As it did in the past in Red Bank, a pink road stripe painted on the main drag through Fair Haven and Rumson in celebration of Pink Week back in May is beginning to lose its charm.

“Rumson wants to know when the pink line is going to go away,” said Rumson Mayor John Ekdahl.

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RED BANK GARDEN PLAN NEEDS WATERING

A narrow borough-owned lot with a disused pumping station on it needs water access before it can be transformed into a community garden, town officials say. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The battle over a proposed Red Bank community garden abated Wednesday night when its main proponent appeared to accept to an offer of a vacant East Side lot as its location.

Now, it’s just a matter of finding water.

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DOWDY FIREPLUGS GET THE EAGLE EYE

jackhayesmontage1. Scout Jack Hayes, who organized the hydrant-painting effort. 2. Ryan Jacobs, 15, left and Myles Donohue, 16, of Boy Scout Troop 67 at work on Shrewsbury Avenue. 3. The hydrant location list Hayes complied for volunteer painters. 4. Charlie Hayes (Jack’s uncle), left and Boy Scout Sam Catoaski, 12, on West Front Street. (Click to enlarge)

Fifty-five Red Bank fire hydrants got a fresh, high-gloss coat of red paint Saturday.

The brushwork was done by nearly two dozen volunteers enlisted and directed by Jack Hayes, a 17-year-old Fair Haven resident who made the one-day repainting campaign task his leadership test in his bid to win Eagle Scout designation in the Boy Scouts.

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TEENS BUSTED FOR ROOFTOP GRAFFITI

authorities2bBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Two local teenagers were arrested in Red Bank Thursday after being caught spray-painting a downtown building, police said.

Thomas Ley, 18, of Rumson, was arrested and charged with criminal mischief and criminal trespassing, Captain Darren McConnell said. A 17-year-old male from Red Bank was also arrested and charged with the same crimes, McConnell said.

Police are also looking into whether the two may be involved in increased graffiti incidents within the borough the last two months.

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RAISES APPROVED FOR RED BANK EMPLOYEES

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By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Raises are going out at Red Bank Borough Hall, but stopping at the dais.

After two years of austerity, the borough council approved two-percent raises across the board for non-unionized employees last week. But the governing body kept its own pay flat.

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BOYNTON JABS OFFICIALS AT WEST SIDE MEET

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By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Freddie Boynton might as well have laced up his old boxing gloves for this face-off.

The former boxer, who’s taken a role in retirement as a voice of Red Bank’s West Side, didn’t pull any punches when borough and elected officials made a trip to the Celestial Lodge Tuesday afternoon to address a grab bag of concerns from residents. But nearly an hour was dominated by one topic — access to Count Basie Fields — and Boynton and other residents, on the way to a compromise on extending the park’s hours, used Administrator Stanley Sickels and elected officials as punching bags for criticism.

“Our children are being locked out,” Boynton, a former borough employee, said. “We’re being treated like we’re animals over here.”

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READY FOR ARBOR DAY

seedling In early celebration of Arbor Day on Friday and Red Bank’s fifth annual designation as aTree City,” members of the Shade Tree Committee distributed white pine seedlings to attendees of Tuesday night’s borough council meeting. STC secretary Boris Kofman, right, hands a baby tree to assistant borough administrator/public works director Gary Watson. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

EJECTED FOOTBALLERS FLAG PARKS & REC

eastside-parkOfficials say Red Bank’s parks & rec commission will revisit the field-use ordinance after a group of residents was abruptly kicked out of Eastside Park Sunday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Two months ago Red Bank’s recreation commission started talking about revising its ordinance regulating the use of borough parks. It didn’t get far.

But when a public works employee punted a group of residents who were playing a pickup flag football in Eastside Park last Sunday, the incident raised questions about the borough’s field-use regulations and public works’ maintenance practices. And the backlash may have moved the previous talks to the top of a to-do list.

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PARK RESTROOMS VANDALIZED

riverside4The restrooms at Riverside Gardens Park were apparently broken into, used and abused recently. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

One needed to get within only a few feet of the restrooms at Red Bank’s Riverside Gardens Park in recent days to become victim of a most egregious assault on the olfactories.

riverside1

It’s difficult to describe the alien fetor, nor would it be appropriate here, just as it would be to describe what one would have seen upon entering the men’s room.

Suffice it to say that the the sticky floor was the least of it.

The ladies’ room wasn’t much better, according to a redbankgreen reader who alerted us to this situation late last week. She emailed to tell us she’d popped in to use the facilities while jogging, and was “appalled” by what she encountered:

I am an easy going person………to put it simply, it was truly DISGUSTING! It made NJ transit bathrooms look like the Ritz…

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TICKET BLIZZARD POSSIBLE, TOO

rb-plow1A borough plow works Monmouth Street at the height of Saturday’s blizzard. (Click to enlarge)

With a second major winter storm in three days expected to wallop the region starting tonight, Red Bank officials have amped up their enforcement of street-parking rules and snow-removal laws, they say.

More than at any time in the past two decades, the public works and police departments are coordinating their efforts to clear borough streets and parking lots of snow, officials say. And that could mean more tickets, they warn.

“We really don’t bother people about parking on the streets” when it snows, says Councilwoman Sharon Lee. “But it’s gotten to the point where it has not paid for us to be pliable.”

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IN PURSUIT OF SUSTAINABILITY

rb-green-teamAlan Placer, left, and Andres Simonson are two of the faces behind Red Bank’s effort to reduce adverse impacts on the natural environment.

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Before it even meets for the first time, Red Bank’s newest subcommittee has already chipped away at its goal.

Made up of volunteer residents, business owners and local officials, the Environmental Commission‘s Green Team was formed a couple months ago in a quest to have Red Bank join dozens of other towns in the state working toward the environmentally friendly, incentive-based municipal certification program Sustainable Jersey.

When it holds its first meeting next month, the Green Team plans to set the wheels in motion to earn the certification by June, said member Andres Simonson, who is also the Environmental Commission chairman.

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