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STATEHOUSE: GOPAL, O’SCANLON SCORE WINS


 Vin Gopal and his 11th-district running mates staked out an island of Democratic blue in a sea of GOP red. (Map by NJSpotlight.com.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Middletown resident Phil Murphy was the clear winner in the 2017 New Jersey gubernatorial race Tuesday, in spite of a chilly reception from his home county.

Meanwhile, Republican state Senator Jen Beck of Red Bank lost her 11th-district statehouse seat to Democrat Vin Gopal, and first-term Red Bank Councilman Mike Whelan came up short in his bid for an Assembly seat on Beck’s ticket.

Former Little Silver Councilman Declan O’Scanlon, a Republican, held off a challenge to his 13th-district state Senate seat by Middletown Democrat Sean Byrnes, according to results posted by the Monmouth County Clerk.

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RED BANK: DEMOCRATS BACK ON TOP

Ed Zipprich, left, won a fourth term and Michael Ballard, right, won his first as Democrats swept to victory Tuesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Two years after losing a generation-long majority on the Red Bank council, borough Democrats are back on top.

Helped by a statewide wave of anti-Trump and anti-Christie sentiment, incumbent Councilman Ed Zipprich won a fourth three-year term Tuesday night. He’ll be joined on the governing body by school board vice present Michael Ballard, after they easily vanquished one-term Republican Linda Schwabenbauer and her running mate, Dana McArthur.

 

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RED BANK: COUNCIL OKS TRIAL VALET PLAN

An undated Google Maps view up Boat Club Way toward West Front Street. 26 West now occupies the building at right. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Over vehement objections by Mayor Pasquale Menna, the Red Bank council approved a 90-day valet parking setup for a downtown restaurant Wednesday.

Menna called the proposal, by 26 West on the Navesink, to use narrow Boat Club Way as a valet parking dropoff and pickup location “insane.”

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RED BANK: SQUEEZING IN NEW PARKING SPOTS

Following through on recent action by the borough council, a crew from Red Bank’s public utilities department created two new parking spots Wednesday on White Street in what was previously a loading zone in front of Sweetest Sin lingerie and other stores along the bottleneck into Broad Street.

Then, just minutes later… 

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FAIR HAVEN: TOWN, R-FH SPLIT COURT COSTS

The new complex will serve as the home courts for the Rumson-Fair Haven girls’ and boys’ tennis teams. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

The Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High girls’ tennis team initiated a new five-court tennis facility that officials hailed last Thursday as smart partnering between Fair Haven and the school.

And its got something for fans of the fast-growing sport of pickleball, too.

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RED BANK: BUILDERS BALK AT ‘NET 500’

Roger Mumford unveiled a new version of his development plan, one that calls for a park along Maple Avenue between White and Monmouth streets, seen at right in the rendering above. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The two finalists vying for the right to redevelop Red Bank’s White Street parking lot both raised concerns about their ability to meet a non-negotiable condition set by downtown merchants: that a new garage add no fewer than 500 public parking spaces to the 273-already there.

Moreover, one of the builders insisted that a definitive study to determine the actual parking deficit downtown is needed, a claim that some business owners have dismissed as an unnecessary speed bump en route to what they contend is a decades-overdue parking solution.

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RUMSON: MARINE SCIENCE CENTER PLANNED

A concept drawing of the proposed Monmouth Marine and Environmental Field Station, which would be built atop the existing sanitary sewer pump station in the background. The red star on the satellite photo below indicates the location. (Photo by John T. Ward, map by Google Maps. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A sewage pump station on the Navesink River in Rumson would serve as the foundation, literally, for an ambitious new marine science center announced in Rumson Tuesday.

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RED BANK: PARKING GETS TWO SPOTLIGHTS

An effort to redevelop Red Bank’s largest downtown parking lot — and, some would say, ensure the economic viability of the downtown as a whole — moves to a new stage Wednesday night.

Or, more precisely, it moves onto two stages.

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RED BANK: WHAT’S NEXT FOR PARKING?

The redevelopment plan for the White Street parking lot is slated for recission next week, but will have to be redone at some point, says Councilman Mike Whelan. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Now that Red Bank’s elected officials have agreed, unofficially, to restart a drive for a downtown parking solution, what happens next?

Two government meetings on one night, for starters.

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RED BANK: POLS PULL U-TURN ON PARKING

The redevelopment plan for the White Street parking lot, outlined in red above, will be rescinded in an effort to end a lawsuit and address concerns about building size, borough officials said. (Image by Google Maps. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s search for a downtown parking solution took a U-turn Wednesday night, when the borough council put in motion a plan to derail a pending lawsuit by former councilwoman Cindy Burnham that members say has impeded progress.

In what was also described as a “compromise” between Republicans and Democrats over proposed building sizes , the council agreed to scrap a contentious nine-month-old redevelopment plan for the White Street parking lot.

At the same time, it knocked out, without much explanation, three of the five developers vying to build a parking deck, and more, on the 2.3-acre site.

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RED BANK: PARKING GARAGE HEARING SLATED

The council will hold a public forum on proposals for the White Street parking site later this month, says Councilman Mike Whelan. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Almost six months after they were submitted and three months after they were the subject of hasty presentations, five proposed plans for the redevelopment of Red Bank’s main downtown parking lot will finally get a public hearing, redbankgreen has learned.

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RED BANK: GARAGE BACKERS AIM AT LOGJAM

Roger Mumford, seen here in 2015, has offered a new plan for the White Street parking lot site that garage backers hope will dissolve political opposition to development. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

One of the five would-be builders of a downtown parking garage has told Red Bank officials he’s willing to build a 773-space parking garage on White Street in exchange for the right to erect 100 homes next door.

Garage advocates touted the informal proposal Wednesday night in the hopes of busting through a political logjam, one they believe has been erected by the three Democrats on the six-member borough council.

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ON THE GREEN: PARK IT HERE FOR FUN IN SUN

Canoeing on Thompson Park’s Marlu Lake is just one of the diversions available in the great outdoors of the Greater Red Bank Green in the late-summer days to come.  

Paddle a canoe across a picturesque lake… drop a kayak on the clear, calm waters of a scenic waterway…  get an up-close (maybe even hands-on) look at some colorful local wildlife life… and do it all in “stay-cation” style, as the folks at the Monmouth County Park System offer plenty of reasons to keep it hyper-local here in the pre-Labor Day interlude.

These and other activities are on tap in the days to come in those public places that make life in these parts a recreational pleasure — and they begin today at a site that represents the outer limits of what we call the Greater Red Bank Green. Read More »

ON THE GREEN: CATCH THESE OUTSIDE

The reverb-drenched surf rock sounds of  the Sharkskins close out the concert season on the Fair Haven Municipal Dock Thursday night.

From star-kissed surf and free-range country to plein-air pickin’ and fresh-air film, the season of outdoor diversions remains very much in effect on the Greater Red Bank Green. We’ve got the roundup of public-welcome events under the summer sky — and over the next seven days and nights — all of them free as a breeze.

It all starts tonight, weather permitting, with the latest installment of the Summer 2017 Movies in Riverside Gardens Park series, sponsored by Red Bank Parks and Recreation and brought to you by Shore Flicks.

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RED BANK: NO MOVEMENT ON PARKING

The 2.3-acre White Street lot. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Nearly two months after five builders presented concept plans for a parking solution on White Street, Red Bank officials have yet to schedule a promised public comment session on the proposals.

That appeared to contribute to frustration voiced during the public comment portion of the council’s semimonthly meeting Wednesday night.

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FAIR HAVEN: OUTCRY HALTS TREE CUTDOWN

Sweetgum trees along Third Street and Cedar Avenue were scheduled for removal to make way for a walking path along the perimeter of the Community Center Fields. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Fair Haven’s elected officials faced a storm of criticism by residents Monday night over a plan to cut down 10 mature trees alongside the borough’s main ballfields.

By the end of the semimonthly council meeting, the governing body had decided to put the plan on hold and “go back to square one,” in the words of Mayor Ben Lucarelli.

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RED BANK: RIVERCENTER TAKES STANCE ON LOT

 RiverCenter took no position on the relative merits of five developers’ concept plans for the White Street lot. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

It’s 500 or nothing, says Red Bank RiverCenter.

The downtown promotion agency says in an “open letter” to elected officials that it “cannot and will not” support a plan for a parking garage on White Street that doesn’t yield a net gain of 500 parking spaces on the 2.3-acre site — and none of the five plans submitted by would-be developers currently meets that target, it claims.

Mike Whelan, the councilmember who leads the parking committee, called the organization’s statement a “flip-flop” and a “disservice” to the downtown.

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