RED BANK: FIREHOUSE AUCTION RESCHEDULED

liberty hose 070612HOT-TOPIC_01The auction of a former firehouse on White Street in Red Bank has been rescheduled for Tuesday, March 25, at 10:30 a.m. The original March 18 sale date was changed to meet public notice requirements, borough officials said. Minimum bid is $475,000; bidding requirements are here. For 103 years, the building was home to the Liberty Hose Company, which now shares space with the first aid squad on Spring Street.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

RED BANK: BURNHAM REOPENS WATER VALVE

horgan burnham 022614Councilwoman Cindy Burnham, right, listens as Councilwoman Kathy Horgan reads an Environmental Commission resolution that denounced any move to privatize Red Bank’s water utility. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

New Red Bank Councilwoman Cindy Burnham‘s recent suggestion that the town sell its water utility got a thorough hosing Wednesday night.

Two weeks after discussion of $2.2 million capital improvement bond prompted Burnham to call for privatization of the water system, Burnham sat stone silent through a critique of the idea Wednesday night – and then voted in favor of the bond.

By Thursday morning, though, the council’s lone Republican was talking again, calling opposition to her suggestion an “attack” by the Democratic majority.

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RED BANK: WANNA BUY A FIREHOUSE?

liberty hose 120513 1The former firehouse, on White Street was home to the Liberty Hose Company for 103 years. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_01Here’s a once-in-a-century real estate opportunity: a Red Bank firehouse is going up on the auction block.

The former home of the Liberty Hose Company, vacated late last year over needed upgrades that the borough says it cannot afford, is to be auctioned off on March 18.

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RED BANK: HOV POSTS STRONG RESULTS

hov-hq-090511Hovnanian Enterprise’s headquarters in Red Bank. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Red Bank-based homebuilder Hovnanian Enterprises reported strong growth in revenue and earnings Thursday.

Revenue rose 21.5 percent in the fourth quarter, to $591.7 million, driving net income for the period to $32.8 million, after a loss of $84.4 million i the year-prior period. At 59 cents per share, the earnings “handily beat analysts’ expectations” of 17 cents per share, the Motley Fool reported.

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RED BANK: CHIEF FACES PERIOD OF CHANGE

tommy welsh 120313Tommy Welsh arrives at the Westside Hose Company following his election as Red Bank fire chief last week. Below, the borough-owned Liberty Hose firehouse is in the process of being vacated because it needs upgrades the town cannot afford. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

liberty hose 120513 2A new, million-dollar ladder truck, firehouse consolidation and pervasive manpowwer issues are on the table as Red Bank’s next fire chief takes the helm on January 1.

For chief-elect Tommy Welsh, it’s the second time around as head of of the all-volunteer department, having served as chief in 1996. This time, however, the department is on the apron to some of its biggest changes in a generation.

“We’re in the middle of some history here,” he told redbankgreen at a party to celebrate his election last week.

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PIEHOLE LARDER: BEST DEAL ON NUTS

nuts (1)Who has the best bargain on unshelled nuts? PieHole knows. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

morsels mediumYou’ll find unshelled nuts prominently displayed at most grocery stores around the Green. But PieHole, redbankgreen‘s food page, found a store where you can get almonds, pecans, walnuts and more for as little as one-third what you’d pay somewhere else.

Take it here for the details. And if you like what you see, give our new Facebook page a like, too.

RED BANK: SPICING UP THE CHURN, WITH SUBS

12 monmouth 111213The Spice & Tea Exchange plans to open a store at 12 Monmouth Street. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rcsm2_010508Some random updates from the ever-changing mix of stores and restaurants in downtown Red Bank that we call the redbankgreen Retail Churn

• From Ice to spice: the Spice & Tea Exchange, a chain of independently owned and operated merchants of gourmet spices, herbs, salts, teas and more, has filed papers with the borough to open at 12 Monmouth Street. The space was last, and briefly, occupied by Ice Jewelry, and before that, Soapmarket.

Landlord Bill Meyer tells Retail Churn that the business is jamming for a pre-Christmas opening. Ambitious.

Jersey Mike’s subs, an ever-expanding franchise operation with New Jersey roots, plans to open a store in the City Centre strip mall at Maple Avenue and Water Street.

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RED BANK: HOW TO HELP THOSE WHO NEED IT

Gwen LoveA challenging economy means more families need help this year, says Gwen Love, Lunch Break’s executive director. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

With Thanksgiving and Christmas on the horizon, Red Bank’s Lunch Break is gearing up to make the holidays special for families in our area. And the current economic climate means more families than ever will need Lunch Break’s help, according to Gwen Love, the soup kitchen and social services nonprofit’s executive director.

In the past 30 days alone, the Lunch Break pantry has served 820 families. “That is a Lunch Break record,” says Love.

“We’ve just started giving out our holiday food bags last week,” says chef Tyrone Burr, “In one week we gave out 365 holiday bags. That’s three times as many as last year.”

Piehole stopped in at Lunch Break to see what neighbors around the Green could do to — as Love puts it — “share their blessings.”

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RED BANK: GOING GREEN? TRY ‘GOING FREE’

ptak 2 101513Peter Ptak gasses up his gasless car with free power supplied by his solar energy system. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

By all outward appearances, Pete Ptak may be the greenest guy on the Green.

The Red Bank resident has racked up his West Westside Avenue home with solar panels, just as he did with two houses across the street when he owned them and another he still owns.

In fact, he recently went through a major upgrade, replacing his panels with newer ones that suck up tons more power from the sun than the older ones, and adding others to his backyard shed.

Now, having cut his household utility bills to less than zero, he’s putting that free juice to work when he’s on the move. He claims to have the only Toyota Rav4 EV all-electric car in New Jersey. And thanks to the hardware on the roof of his house and shed, it costs him nothing to fuel.

But to Ptak, it’s not about saving the planet. It’s about saving money.

“I don’t care about being green,” Ptak tells redbankgreen. “The green I care about is the green that comes out of my wallet.”

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RED BANK: EVERYTHING MUST GO

rb grauer 110213Rcsm2_010508With a hand truck loaned by neighbor Mona Pollard (center), Red Bank residents Marc Grauer and Nancy Keyes schlepped a sideboard to their Hubbard Park home from the downtown women’s clothing store Emilia, more than half a mile away, on Saturday.

Emilia owner Jessy Krol tells redbankgreen’s Retail Churn that she’s closing her Monmouth Street boutique later this month after just two years because there’s not enough business to justify paying a nearly 30-percent increase in rent. Everything, including the store displays, is for sale. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: HUNGER ON THE TABLE

christie colicchio 093013Governor Chris Christie joined restaurateur Tom Colicchio, right, and an interviewer on stage at the Count Basie Theatre Monday afternoon for a discussion of the politics of combatting hunger. The four-hour afternoon program, called ‘Soul of Hunger,’ also brought together panelists from food pantries and supermarkets and featured a screening of the documentary, ‘A Place at the Table.’ (Click to enlarge)

SEA BRIGHT TO STUDY POSSIBLE MERGER

sea-bright-boro-hallThe move follows inquiries by borough residents concerned about rising costs of government, said town hall officials. (Click to enlarge)

By SARAH KLEPNER

A group of Sea Bright residents has been charged with investigating the big C.

No, it’s not a dread disease, though it has a dramatic aspect. It’s consolidation.
The borough council Tuesday night approved a resolution creating a citizen advisory committee to study a possible consolidation with one or more nearby towns.
But Mayor Dina Long says she’s still not sold on it.

RED BANK: MARKET, HOMES EYED AT FIVE-WAY

Developer Ray Rapcavage envisions a greengrocer flanked by condos and townhomes at Red Bank’s five corners. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

One of Red Bank’s long-forsaken properties may be in for a major overhaul.

Owner and developer Ray Rapcavage plans to convert nearly a whole block at the five corners confluence of Harding Road and Branch and Hudson avenues into a three-building complex anchored by an old-fashioned fruit and vegetable market and 20 residences.

If approved and built, the project would transform the acre-sized site of four existing homes and a former gasoline station into a vibrant, eastward expansion of the downtown business district, said Rapcavage, who gave redbankgreen a sneak peek at his plans Monday.

“When you come into that intersection, you’re going to see a lot of green,” he said of produce displays he has plans along a the Harding Road facade of the market.

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SEA BRIGHT: FOCUS ON STALLED BUSINESSES

A volunteer group wants to help owners of vacant stores spruce up their properties.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By SARAH KLEPNER

A group of Sea Bright residents is asking the borough to reach out to businesses that have stalled in the post-Sandy recovery process.

With a campaign for sand replenishment, a fundraiser to replace lost beach equipment, an open-house on recovery construction and more efforts already under its belt, Seabrighters Embracing Action – a community group that formed in February to help the town and each other recover from Hurricane Sandy – is now turning its attention to matters of appearance.

“We’re asking the town to enforce the codes when it comes to businesses that aren’t cleaning up,” SEA founder Heather Bedenko said Tuesday night after the bimonthly borough council meeting. Closed businesses “are like black eyes on the town. We have businesses opening up between two half-demolished places,” she said.

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RED BANK: MEET, GREET, GRAB A TREAT

Dozens of dogs and their human pals turned out on a pleasant summer evening Tuesday for the first edition of Red Bank’s Dog Days, and redbankgreen was there to catch the wags, smiles and occasional slobbers. We’ve got lots more photos after the “read more.”

The canine meet-and-greet, held on a closed-to-traffic stretch of Monmouth Street, is scheduled to repeat on the last Tuesday night of August, September and October. (Click to enlarge)

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RED BANK: A TOUCHY-FEELY SIDEWALK SALE

Downtown Red Bank is always a great people-watching scene, and that was the case when bargainhunters flooded the sidewalks for the 59th annual Red Bank Sidewalk Sale over the past weekend. redbankgreen took these photos on Saturday. (Click to enlarge)
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SEA BRIGHT: WELL, HOW ABOUT A PHARMACY?

Residents at Wednesday night’s brainstorming session in Sea Bright. (Photo by Colby Wilson. Click to enlarge)

By COLBY WILSON

For the second time this week, business owners, residents and concerned others gathered at Sea Bright borough hall Wednesday night to brainstorm on the town’s future.

At an open-invite think tank of sorts, the second meeting held by the Sea Bright 2020 steering committee focused on economic development and community facilities. On Monday, the focus was on housing and the waterfront.

“Let’s talk about strengths,” said Frank Lawrence, the committee’s chairman. “Not just what’s bad but what’s good,”

The conversation, however, quickly turned to what the town didn’t have and the challenges it still faced in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy – a stark reminder that Sea Bright is still fighting back from the storm.

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SHREWSBURY AVENUE SPICES UP BANCO ROJO

Nopales, left, and sabila, above, are available at Rincon Latino Supermarket. (Photos by Grace Goldoni. Click to enlarge)

By GRACE GOLDONI

Rich South American hot chocolate in blocks. Subtropical coconuts. Exotic, prickly and tangy vegetables.

We’re not in your typical white-bread American supermarket. Here on Shrewsbury Avenue, the main thoroughfare on Red Bank’s West Side, the striking flavors of fresh and authentic Latin food create a south-of-the-border atmosphere.

In recent decades, this commercial stretch has adopted a strong Latino accent, just like its surrounding neighborhoods. If you’ve never stepped outside your car and visited this street, home to about half a dozen bodegas and small grocers, well, grab a shopping cart…

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SEA BRIGHT: RISK-TAKERS FLOODING TOWN

Antonio Murray, above, opened Beach Burgers and Grille on Tuesday. Below, Billy Geltzeiler with server Greer McCarthy at Billy G’s Beach Bistro. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Store by store, restaurant by restaurant, the old-timers are coming back to Sea Bright, a town where not one was spared the trauma of Hurricane Sandy.

From Angler’s Marina to Yumi, from Woody’s Ocean Grille to Northshore Menswear to Bain’s Hardware,  merchants have restarted their businesses as quickly as their bank balances would allow. Others are in the process of renovating. Expect Gracie & the Dudes to return shortly. Ditto for the the 7-Eleven.

But within this returning tide is a second wave: newcomers to Ocean Avenue business district. Risk-takers willing to stake their livelihoods, and their life savings, on the chance that the Shrewsbury River and the Atlantic Ocean won’t again meet in the places their renting. Not soon, at least.

Last week, redbankgreen introduced you to Alice Gaffney, a former school cafeteria cook who opened Alice’s Kitchen in the space long occupied by Steve’s Breakfast & Lunch. Here’s a look at three more newcomers – owners of a full-service restaurant, a burger place and a surf shop.

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SEA BRIGHT BEGINS LOOKING TO 2020

Borough residents at Monday night’s 2020 session, where FEMA planner Linda Weber, below, took notes. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The scene: a public brainstorming session at Sea Bright’s borough hall.

The purpose: to begin shaping what’s expected to be a long-range process to address housing and commercial needs both in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and in anticipation of another such walloping.

With the floor opened to observations, one woman raised concerns about vacant homes attracting prowlers.

A man’s suggestion that all the utility poles along Ocean Avenue be removed drew a smattering of applause.

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SEA BRIGHT: BROGUE, HEARTH AND PORK ROLL

Alice’s Kitchen takes over  space that was home to downtown fixture Steve’s Breakfast & Lunch. Below, Alice Gaffney with a customer shortly after opening her doors Friday morning. (Photo below by Colby Wilson. Click to enlarge)

By COLBY WILSON

The first time you visit Alice’s Kitchen in Sea Bright, order an Irish breakfast.

That’s on the recommendation of the chef and owner, Alice Gaffney, who’s bringing the food – and an architectural touch – of her homeland to 1100 Ocean Avenue, but doing it Jersey-style.

“We’re going to have Irish soda bread, Irish breakfast, and of course pork roll,” Gaffney tells redbankgreen. After all, “this is the Jersey Shore,” she says.

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SEA BRIGHT: FAST AUCTION FOR FORMER GYM

Bidders arriving, above, and inspecting the interior of the Ocean Avenue building. (Photo by Colby Wilson. Click to enlarge)

By COLBY WILSON

Things are looking up for Sea Bright. The hurricane-ravaged town isn’t merely rebuilding what was wiped out by the storm – it’s moving forward and attracting investors willing to bet on its future.

Case in point: the former home of Adrenaline Fitness.

On Wednesday morning, a dozen prospective buyers showed up to place bids on the three-story multi-use building at 1054 Ocean Avenue. Within a few minutes, five of them bid up to the property from an opening $500,000 to $700,000.

Rumson resident Christina Galinos walked away with the prize, for $720,000.

“I love the location, and I just think that Sea Bright is a great town that has so much potential,“ Galinos told redbankgreen afterward. “It’s going to come back even stronger. I’d love to be a part of that.”

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SEA BRIGHT: SPIRIT IN THE NIGHT

Two charities – Sea Bright Rising and Ama Ristorante’s Building Permit Relief Fund – with the common mission of helping Sea Bright victims of Hurricane Sandy rebuild their homes and businesses were the beneficiaries of festivities at Driftwood Cabana Club Monday that culminated in a spectacular fireworks show.

Daylong downpours halted, a rainbow appeared, and a pyrotechnics show billed as New Jersey’s largest this Independence Day week lit up the sky above the Atlantic Ocean and Sea Bright as thousands looked on. redbankgreen was at Driftwood to capture the spectacle. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click the embiggen symbolto enlarge)

 

RED BANK: STATION PLACE WORK BEGINS

After years of zoning hearings, lawsuits and aborted plans, shovels finally went into the ground last week for what’s now dubbed Station Place, 45 luxury apartments and 12 affordable units at Monmouth, West and Oakland streets in Red Bank.

Formerly to have been called Courtyards at Monmouth, the project is being built by Roger Mumford, who has replaced substandard housing on Bridge Avenue near Drs. James Parker Boulevard with new homes. Mumford tells redbankgreen he expects tenant move-ins at Station Place to begin in July, 2014. (Photos by Dan Natale. Click to enlarge)

STUDIO OUT, SUGARUSH IN, RETAILER BACK

Chris Paseka, above, and partner Jesse Bello-Paseka plan to double the size of Sugarush, taking over space vacated by the Kathryn Barnett School of Dance.  (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rcsm2_010508Kathryn Barnett School of Dance has relocated out of town, cupcakery Sugarush is growing into Barnett’s vacated space, and Hip and Humble Home has landed back in a storefront after several months absence.

All part of the wonderful world of Red Bank’s Retail Churn.

• After 30 years in town, Kathryn Barnett has moved her East Front Street dance studio, where generations of girls have learned the art of movement, to Union Square Mall on Route 35 in Middletown, combining forces with Allegro Dance Studio.

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