RED BANK: ADMIN SEARCH TO BE REVIVED

Chief and interim Business Administrator Darren McConnell with Senior Center Director Jackie Reynolds last October. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

See Correction below

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topicRed Bank’s council will try again to find a full-time borough administrator, following an abandoned effort of year ago.

The search will be revived even as the governing body, sharply divided on numerous other issues, appears to agree that police Chief Darren McConnell is doing a faultless job in double duty as interim administrator.

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RED BANK: CONTRACT, ADMIN JOB ON AGENDA

More than three years after it was closed by a catastrophic leak, the borough Senior Center is about to get repairs. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topicRed Bank’s council is scheduled to award a contract to repair the Senior Center, and to discuss a possible new search for a borough administrator, when it holds back-to-back workshop and regular meetings Wednesday night.

Here are some highlights from the agendas:

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RED BANK: CENTER FIXES OK’D, RE-ARGUED

Angela Mirandi, in second pane from left in the top row, attended her first session as a council member. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

See CORRECTION below

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThree years after a fire suppression system leak forced a shutdown of Red Bank’s Senior Center, the borough council approved nearly $2 million in financing for repairs Wednesday.

As in the past, members clashed over the reasons for the time elapsed and cost. Added to the acrimony was a new element: blame for failure to identify money recently found sitting idle in old accounts and now earmarked for repairs.

Unmentioned during the virtual meeting was a lawsuit, announced hours earlier, that seeks to remove Angela Mirandi, who attended for the first time as a council member.

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RED BANK: ‘BOAT RAMP’ TO FUND CENTER FIX

A municipal boat ramp on the Navesink River was once envisioned for the north end of Maple Avenue, now a nature area called Maple Cove. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank officials boasted earlier this month that they’d “cobbled together” about $1 million from idle accounts to soften the impact on taxpayers of repairing the long-shuttered Senior Center.

It turns out a big chunk of that sum has been stuck in the borough’s sofa cushions for 30 years, designated for a never-built boat ramp, redbankgreen has learned.

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RED BANK: CENTER REPAIR PLANS TWEAKED

Phil Blackwood, at left, addressing architect Pradeep Kapoor during the first of two sessions Wednesday. Below, the Senior Center floor plan. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Repair plans for Red Bank’s long-shuttered Senior Center may get some final tweaks following a pair of public comment sessions held Wednesday.

Suggestions ranged from small (add a door buzzer) to large (dig a basement).

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RED BANK: CENTER REPAIR FORUM(S) POSSIBLE

The Senior Center has been idle since a fire suppression system leak in January, 2019. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njSix months after the Red Bank council agreed to repair the water-damaged Senior Center, a presentation – or two – is in the works to get public input on the plans.

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ON THE GREEN: TAX DUE DATES EXTENDED

[See UPDATE below]

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank taxesRed Bank and Fair Haven property owners who pay their taxes directly, rather than through an escrow account, can hold off on pulling out their checkbooks for a few more weeks.

Bills have yet to be sent out for taxes normally due August 1.

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RED BANK: CENTER PLANS TO COST $96K

Costs associated with planned repairs to the shuttered Senior Center delayed adoption of the borough budget. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank taxesConstruction plans for repairs to Red Bank’s water-damaged and long-closed Senior Center will cost $96,000, borough officials said Wednesday.

Accommodating that expense into the municipal budget will require a budget amendment and special meeting of the council. But they won’t slow the repair efforts, said acting Business Administrator Darren McConnell.

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RED BANK: LONG APART, SENIORS MEET ANEW

Dottie Ferris, at right, greeting friends at the event Thursday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Apart for months, Red Bank seniors enjoyed a pandemic-era get-together outside the temporary home of the borough Senior Center Thursday.

“It’s so nice to see everyone and talk, even if you don’t know everyone,” said 92-year-old Dottie Ferris, a resident of the Wesleyan Arms senior apartments on Wall Street, as she sat at a table outdoors. At home, “all I do is watch TV and eat,” she said.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL INITIATES REBUILD

The Senior Center occupies a stand-alone building on Shrewsbury Avenue. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe Red Bank council moved to jumpstart repairs to water-damaged Senior Center Wednesday night, one day after a recommendation by the Redevelopment Agency that it do so.

But even enroute to a unanimous vote, the measure churned up bitterness among the all-Democratic governing body.

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RED BANK: SENIOR CENTER FIX-UP ADVANCES

The backyard of the mothballed Senior Center overlooking the upper Navesink River. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njA proposal to repair Red Bank’s mothballed Senior Center without adding any new facilities won a Redevelopment Agency endorsement Tuesday evening.

The action could defuse one of the hottest issues in a contested Democratic race for two council seats just six weeks before a primary vote.

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RED BANK: DALPRA TO HEAD PARKS & REC

Louis ‘Del’ DalPra at Red Bank Regional in 2009. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njFormer Red Bank Regional High athletic director and coach Louis ‘Del’ DalPra was named director of the borough’s parks and recreation department Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: TOP JOB OPEN AT TIME OF STRIFE

red bank, nj, ken deroberts, pasquale mennaZiad Shehady, left, and Mayor Pasquale Menna listen as consultant Ken DeRoberts, in foreground, addresses the council in January, 2019. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe resignation of Red Bank’s business administrator after only three years last week was the result of scheming by political enemies, Mayor Pasquale Menna contends.

Now, a prevailing atmosphere of “dysfunction” will “absolutely” make it harder to fill the town’s top unelected position, he told redbankgreen.

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RED BANK: SHEHADY RESIGNS TOP BORO JOB

Ziad Shehady in his borough hall office in June, 2018. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[This post has been updated since it was first published.]

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njAfter only three years on the job, Ziad Shehady is resigning as Red Bank’s top unelected official, he told the borough council behind closed doors Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: HOFFMANN LEAVING REC JOB

Charlie Hoffmann with parks attendant Celestine Woods at Riverside Gardens Park in 2018. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Charlie Hoffmann, who has directed Red Bank’s parks and recreation department for the past five years, is leaving town.

The announcement of his departure at the council’s semimonthly meeting Wednesday sparked a “pile-on” of praise for Hoffmann’s work, which included organizing everything from sports and cultural offerings to this weekend’s Spring Egg Hunt.

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RED BANK: SENIOR & REC PLANS REVIEWED

A concept plan showing facilities at the southern entrance to Count Basie Fields includes an indoor basketball court. (Screenshot from Zoom. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe Red Bank Redevelopment Agency began sorting through concept plans for possible new senior citizen and recreation facilities Tuesday.

Added to the “fix it now” demand by advocates of a stand-alone Senior Center was a new one: leave the outdoor basketball courts at Count Basie Fields alone.

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RED BANK: CENTER BACKERS RALLY AGAIN

Marian Quinn of Manor Drive speaking at the rally. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njInvoking “demolition by neglect” and the prospect of “apartments” on the site, several dozen Red Bankers rallied Saturday to demand that the mothballed borough Senior Center be repaired.

They also momentarily drowned out the grandson of the center’s founder when he took issue with one of the handmade signs posted on the building.

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RED BANK: SHEHADY SLATES PUBLIC FORUMS

Ziad Shehady at borough event in February, 2020. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njA week after announcing he was stepping down from a position that had become a “lightning rod” for criticism, Red Bank Borough Administrator Ziad Shehady said he plans to host a pair of public roundtables on a wide range of issues later this month.

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RED BANK: SHEHADY QUITS AGENCY POST

ziad shehady, ken derobertsZiad Shehady, left, with Ken DeRoberts at the 2018 Mayor’s Ball. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njZiad Shehady resigned as the executive director of the Red Bank Redevelopment Agency Tuesday, saying the position had become a “lightning rod” for criticism and source of distraction from his primary job as borough business administrator.

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