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ON THE GREEN: NEW RECYCLING RULES

Starting next week, recyclables put out at the curb in plastic bags won’t be picked up in a number of Monmouth County towns. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Monmouth County municipalities are rushing this week to implement new rules to prohibit the use of plastic bags to hold domestic recyclables for pickup.

The change is being driven by China, Red Bank Business Administrator Ziad Shehady tells redbankgreen.

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RED BANK: RIVERCENTER REBOOT BEGINS

Attendees filling out questionnaires at the RiverCenter strategy session at the Oyster Point Hotel Monday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Amid intensifying competition regionally for business investment and shoppers, Red Bank RiverCenter kicked off a four-month effort to redefine its vision for the downtown Monday night.

About 70 people, most of them merchants, gathered in a ballroom at the Oyster Point Hotel to hear from a consultant on how to determine “what you want this place to look like in 10 years,” as he put it.

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RED BANK: BIKE SHARE PLAN IN THE WORKS

Biking in Red Bank —and possibly, Fair Haven and Little Silver — could get a boost under a push to bring a bike-sharing vendor to town. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank officials are exploring the possibility of allowing a bike-share vendor to offer its services in town, and inviting two neighboring towns to get in on the two-wheeled action, Business Administrator Ziad Shehady told the borough council last week.

 

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RED BANK: NEW ‘CLASSIC’ SPRINGS TO LIFE

Runners head down Branch Avenue in the 2015 edition of the George Sheehan Classic, which turned out to be the last. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Three years after the departure of a beloved road race, the new Red Bank Classic 5K sprang to life under cloudless skies Saturday.

The debut running of the race, organized by the Red Bank Business Alliance, attracted more than 1,000 runners, eclipsing the expectations, said RBBA member Angie Courtney.

Were you there, or do you know someone who was? Look for them in redbankgreen‘s photos below. Race results are here.

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RED BANK: MURPHYS IN CLASSIC FINISH

Governor Phil Murphy and First Lady Tammy Murphy powering through the last steps of the race, above, and before the start, below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Undaunted by a fellow runner’s warning that Tower Hill can be a killer, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and First Lady Tammy Murphy finished among the top 25 percent of racers in the debut Red Bank Classic 5k Saturday.

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RED BANK: BRIDGE RENAMED FOR KYRILLOS

State Senator Joe Kyrillos at the opening of the new bridge in May, 2015. Freehold John Curley is at left. Below, a Google Satellite view of the bridge. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

For who knows how long, the West Front Front Street bridge connecting Red Bank and Middletown has been colloquially known as “Hubbard’s Bridge.” To Monmouth County, which owns the span and replaced it three years ago, it’s “S-17.”

As of Thursday, though, the 488-foot connector over the upper Navesink River has a new name: the “Senator Joseph M. Kyrillos Bridge.”

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RED BANK: VNA SITE UP FOR NEW HOUSING

The former VNA headquarters building on Riverside Avenue, with the Colony House apartments at right. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03The massive former VNA Health Group headquarters in Red Bank would be demolished and replaced with multifamily residential housing under a plan in the works, redbankgreen has learned.

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RED BANK: RETHINKING RIVERCENTER’S JOB

The downtown promotion agency RiverCenter kicks off a mission review next week, and is seeking public input, its officials say. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Through his Monmouth Street store, the Cheese Cave, Steve Catania has been doing business in Red Bank for seven years. And for much of that time, he’s been involved in efforts to advance the interests of downtown retailers like himself.

But if you ask them, most probably couldn’t tell you what Red Bank RiverCenter‘s job really is, says Catania. And that’s a problem, given that it’s supposed to be their advocate.

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RED BANK: NEW ‘CLASSIC’ 5K SET TO RUN

Runners head down Branch Avenue in the 2015 edition of the George Sheehan Classic, which turned out to be the last. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

After a three-year rest, Red Bank is set to again lace up its running shoes Saturday with the debut of Red Bank Classic, organizers said.

Here’s what you need to know:

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RED BANK: REPORT RIPS TOWN OPERATIONS

A management review found that “at least 12” full-time positions could be eliminated from borough government. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Citing numerous examples of “dysfunctionality,” an unsparing review of Red Bank’s management recommends widespread overhauls, from a new form of government to improved courtroom security.

The Management Enhancement Report, commissioned last October and posted on the borough website Friday, includes insider comments highly critical of the way things work, or don’t work, at borough hall.

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RED BANK: MIXED-USE BUILDING WINS OK

An architect’s rendering, below, of the new building proposed for 160 Shrewsbury Avenue, above. (Rendering by Michael Monroe. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

The Red Bank planning board last week approved a mixed-use structure proposed for the site of a home on Shrewsbury Avenue.

Developer Bekim Kosovrasti’s plan calls for the demolition of the existing house at 160 Shrewsbury, at the corner of Earl Street, and replacing it with a 7,500-square-foot, mixed-use structure.

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RED BANK: HABCORE EXPANSION APPROVED

HABcore plans to add a four-apartment addition to the rear of the two-family home it owns at 119 River Street. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank-based nonprofit housing provider HABcore won approval Thursday night for an expansion plan that would triple the size of a home it owns on the West Side.

The zoning board unanimously OKd the plan to add four apartments to what’s now a two-family house on River Street after several borough residents spoke in favor of it and no objections were raised.

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RED BANK: WAWA MEGASTORE PLAN YANKED

Former Red Bank mayor Ed McKenna, left, grilled Wawa engineer Mark Whitaker over the proposal at a zoning board hearing in March. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[UPDATE: This post contains comments from site ower Frank Sala, who was unavailable at the time of the original posting.]

By JOHN T. WARD

Wawa’s coffee, subs and gasoline prices may have earned it a devoted following, but a controversial plan to build a supersized convenience store and filling station on Red Bank’s southern border has been withdrawn, redbankgreen has learned.

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ON THE GREEN: PRIMARY RESULTS

By JOHN T. WARD

Only eleven percent of Monmouth County’s registered voters participated in Tuesday’s Democratic and Republic primaries, with surprise outcomes hard to find on the Greater Red Bank Green.

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RED BANK: PARKING, TAXES & MORE

A consultant was hired to conduct a long-awaited parking study following the failure last year of plans to redevelop the White Street lot, above. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

At last Wednesday’s meeting of the Red Bank council, these things happened:

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RED BANK: ‘PUPPY MILL’ BILL TABLED

Bark Avenue owner Gary Hager listens as Vyolet Jean Savage speaks in favor of a puppy mill ordinance in January. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

The Red Bank council averted, for now, a showdown over a controversial proposed ordinance that would ban the retail sale of puppies and kittens unless they come from animal shelters and rescue organizations.

At its semimonthly meeting Wednesday night, the council postponed a vote on the measure until June 27 to allow for a possible “compromise,” Councilwoman Kathy Horgan told redbankgreen.

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RUMSON: EKDAHL RETIRES AS MAYOR

 John Ekdahl, right, with former Red Bank Mayor Ed McKenna at the groundbreaking last September for an addition to the Count Basie Center for the Arts, where they serve on an advisory board.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

After 14 years at the helm of Rumson’s municipal government, John Ekdahl retired as mayor last week.

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RED BANK: RIVERCENTER KICKS IN ON PARKING

The borough council is expected to choose a consultant next week to assess parking needs in downtown Red Bank. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Stalled since the November election, an effort to address parking issues in downtown Red Bank appears about to get back on track next week.

That’s when the borough council is expected to designate a parking consultant, to be paid for in part with funds from Red Bank RiverCenter.

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RED BANK: DOUBTS ON PRESERVATION LAW

Homes along Washington Street, in the borough’s designated historic district, would be affected by the ordinance, as would properties beyond the district’s borders. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Does Red Bank’s Historic Preservation Commission need more teeth?

The borough’s planning board began chewing on that question Monday night, and seemed not to like the taste of it.

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RED BANK: MASKS ADD FLAIR TO MAYOR’S BALL

Not everyone at the fourth annual Red Bank Mayor’s Ball wore masks, but there were plenty of attendees adding touches of lacy, sparkly and feathery mystique to event, held Friday night at the Oyster Point Hotel to raise funds for Holiday Express and the borough’s animal welfare efforts.

Mayor Pasquale Menna, at right, hosted. Among those honored were Holiday Express founder Tim McLoone, who performed with the Atlantic Coast Band featuring the Shirleys, and Detour Gallery owner Kenny Schwartz, above right. 

See who you know in redbankgreen’s photos below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

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RED BANK: NONPARTISAN DRIVE UNDERWAY

Council members Mike Whelan, in white shirt, and Mark Taylor at the Red Bank First kickoff Tuesday night at Red Rock Tap + Grill.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Hoping to bust through what they see as political gridlock, two lame-duck Red Bank council members kicked off a petition effort Tuesday night to change both the borough’s form of government and the way in which its officials are elected.

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RED BANK: PROPERTY TAX UP 4.7 PERCENT

Michael Ballard, who heads the finance committee, with Mayor Pasquale Menna at left, on election night last November. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank property owners may see a 4.7-percent increase in the local portion of their tax bill this year under a budget introduced Wednesday night.

The hike was driven by a drop in revenue, said Councilman Michael Ballard, including a halt by Riverview Medical Center of its customary payment in lieu of taxes.

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RED BANK: LIBRARY DIRECTOR TO RETIRE

Elizabeth McDeromott, center, at the 2015 Red Bank Mayor’s Ball. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Elizabeth McDermott, who guided the Red Bank Public Library through perhaps the most turbulent chapter of its 81-year history, will retire at the end of June.

An ex-software industry consultant who changed careers well into adulthood, McDermott announced her retirement in the spring issue of the library’s newsletter, out this week.

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RED BANK: PUPPY LAW MAY END UP IN COURT

Toy poodle pups at Bark Avenue Puppies in February, 2016. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Red Bank’s only puppy retailer threatened to sue the borough Wednesday night if the council passes an anti-puppy-mill law that he said will put him out of business.

“I must ask how much of our taxpayer money are you willing to spend on this unconstitutional ordinance?” Bark Avenue Puppies owner Gary Hager asked the council at its semimonthly meeting. “I’m willing to spend a lot, because I have right on my side.”

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