Search Results for: red bank historic preservation commission

WOMAN’S CLUB GETS A SPRUCING-UP

The club recently installed an information display at the Broad Street entrance to the onetime Anthony Reckless homestead, and the rear and sides of the structure are being painted to match the front, below.  (Click to enlarge)

Passersby scurrying to the post office, bank and dry cleaner may have noticed a flurry of fixing-up at the Woman’s Club of Red Bank lately.

The club’s Broad Street home, in the 1870 mansion built by Anthony Reckless and listed on both the national and New Jersey registries of historic places, is getting a new coat of paint on its sides and rear to go with a facade painting of several years ago.

There’s also a new metal plaque in the front yard offering a history of the property, which the club acquired in 1921.

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DOCK PLAN MAKES WAVES IN FAIR HAVEN

scire-dock-2-112911A Hance Road homeowner hopes to nearly double the length of his Navesink River dock, above. An engineer’s plan, below, details the additional length, as well as the boat lifts and jet-ski port that would be added. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

scire-dock-112911A proposal for a private dock extension that would nearly double the length of an existing Fair Haven pier is in the crosshairs of at least two environment watchdogs.

Documents filed with the state Department of Environmental Protection show that homeowner Pat Scire plans to build an 82-foot-long, 8-foot-wide floating-dock extension at 1 Hance Road. The new structure would be flanked by a pair of boatlifts and a  jet-ski port.

In addition, Scire proposes to rebuild 354 linear feet of bulkheading.

While they support the bulkhead plan as necessary to combat erosion, Ralph Wyndrum and Richard Huff, chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the borough environmental commission say the dock raises safety and other issues.

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ROUND TWO FOR FORTUNE HOUSE

fortune-house1A ‘for sale’ was planted out front of the T. Thomas Fortune House on Drs. James Parker Boulevard last week. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Four years after a historic Red Bank house was spared a possible meeting with the steel maw of a bulldozer, the T. Thomas Fortune house is back on the market at a sharply reduced price.

Though the house and acre of land it sits on have been available to buyers on and off for years, vandalism prompted the owners to plant a ‘for sale’ sign on the lawn last week, reigniting worries of preservationists. They fear the the three-story, Second Empire-style home to post-Civil War black newspaperman and activist T. Thomas Fortune might be razed.

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COAL & FEED BUILDING DEMOLISHED

26_shrewsburyThe former Hance Coal & Feed building on Shrewsbury Avenue, seen above in 2008, was razed earlier this week, below. (Click to enlarge)

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A landmark barnlike structure on Red Bank’s West Side is no more.

The former Hance Coal & Feed building on Shrewsbury Avenue was taken down earlier this week by Sourlis International, owner of the Galleria at Red Bank, which plans to expand a surrounding parking lot on the site.

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RESTROOM? FOUR-YEAR WAIT, IF EVER

rb-station-1-051410A NJ Transit rendering shows the station in what officials say were its original colors. (Click to enlarge)

Where’s the restroom?

Lou and Chris Mustillo, owners of the Red Bank’s Walt Street Pub, say they get that question upwards of two dozen times a day from commuters hurrying into their establishment across Monmouth Street from the Red Bank train station, which doesn’t have a public washroom.

So last Friday night, when New Jersey Transit unveiled a station restoration plan that may take four years and consume up to $2 million in taxpayer money, the Mustillos pressed officials with the same question they and their bartenders hear all too often: where’s the bathroom?

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UNVEILING OF TRAIN STATION FIXES SLATED

train-stationNew Jersey Transit will make a presentation tonight on planned renovations to Red Bank’s train station. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

It’s been six months since New Jersey Transit pledged to overhaul Red Bank’s creaking and crumbling train station, and now the agency is ready to fill the public in on its plans.

Gearing up for a complete makeover of the salmon-colored Victorian two-story, NJT officials will give a presentation Friday evening at the Woman’s Club of Red Bank to anyone interested in getting an idea of what lies ahead.

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NJT PLANS REPAIRS, NEW LOOK FOR STATION

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NJTransit’s plan includes removal of gingerbread trimming, which historians say is inauthentic. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

It looks as though the Red Bank train station will finally get those long-awaited repairs Historic Preservation Commission members have been clamoring for, and then some.

Commission members, along with Mayor Pasquale Menna, met with New Jersey Transit officials Thursday to go over a multiphased plan that will overhaul the deteriorating Victorian-style station and restore it to its former glory.

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HISTORIANS BLAST NJT FOR STATION NEGLECT

rb-hist-commHistoric Preservation Commission member Mary Gilligan addresses the council Monday night, joined by members George Bowden, left, and Ed Poplawski.

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

For 15 years, Mary Gilligan says, she’s “watched pieces fall off” Red Bank’s train station on the North Jersey Coast Line rails. And for most of that time, except for some slapdash and historically inapt repairs, station owner New Jersey Transit has ignored the pleas of town officials to halt the decay.

Now, Gilligan and other members of the Historic Preservation Commission are hoping to “hold NJ Transit’s feet to the fire” and force it to halt the deterioration before the salmon-colored, gingerbread-trimmed structure crumbles to the asphalt.

“The building is derelict,” Gilligan told the borough council in a bluntly worded appeal for action Monday night. “There’s not another train station in this state that looks this bad.”

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A DAY OF FOOD, MUSIC & COMMUNITY II

RB day trip copy

HotdogScenes from last year’s post-parade picnic on Centennial Day, the precursor to Saturday’s Red Bank Day. (Click to enlarge)

At the picnic that followed the parade for Red Bank’s Centennial last year, Mayor Pasquale Menna was telling everyone he wanted to make the gathering at Count Basie Field an annual event.

And so it shall be, weather permitting. This Saturday, borough residents are invited to return to the sports complex for a couple of hours of food, music and neighborly camaraderie known as Red Bank Day.

A tour of historic homes in the borough is scheduled for Sunday.

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GALLERIA PROJECT MAY BE CURBED

GalleriaparkAn architectural rendering of the proposed garage and office building, as seen from the northwest corner of Shrewsbury Avenue and West Front Street.

A proposal to effectively double the size of the Galleria Red Bank shopping, dining and office complex ran into little initial resistance at the opening of planning board hearings Monday night.

But questions about the nearness of the proposed structure to Shrewsbury Avenue and West Front Street are expected to be raised when the review continues early next month.

Board vice chairman Dan Mancuso appeared to suggest that the
structure be moved back from the sidewalks on two sides to meet existing setback requirements.

“I just think we’re closing in on that intersection, which is wide open now,” he said.

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A CHAT WITH THE CANDIDATE: ZIPPRICH

Zipprich_edEd Zipprich at home on River Road.

On Nov. 4, Red Bank voters will have four ballot choices for two seats on the borough council, now composed of four Democrats and two Republicans.

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Both open seats, by happenstance, are held by Republicans: Grace Cangemi, who is running for re-election, and James Giannell, who is not running; he’s serving out the tail end of the term from which freeholder candidate John Curley resigned in July.

Today through Thursday, redbankgreen will post an interview a day with each of the candidates. Instead of transcripts, we’ve got the complete audio. The interviews are between 22 and 33 minutes in length. [See the editor’s note at bottom of story.]

The interviews are not meant to be literal head-to-head comparisons. Rather, they cover some common issues — including taxes, a community center and healthcare coverage for the mayor and council — while exploring each candidate’s own experiences a bit in order to shed some light on who they are and how they think.

We’ll go in reverse alphabetical order, starting with Democrat Ed Zipprich today, Republican John Tyler Jr. tomorrow, Democrat Juanita Lewis on Wednesday and ending with Cangemi on Thursday.

After losing his first bid for elective office last November to Grace Cangemi by just 59 votes out of nearly 2,200 cast, Ed Zipprich made it clear to supporters that, undaunted, he wasn’t going anywhere.

And in fact, he continued his work on the borough’s Historic Preservation Commission, helping shepherd through the council a plan to designate the Washington Street area as an historic district; serving on the planning board as an alternate and on the master plan review committee; and getting involved in the newly revived Red Bank Borough Education Foundation, which seeks to upgrade and preserve the 17-acre Primary School property as an environmental teaching center.

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HOSPITAL PLANS TO RAZE BUILDING

60e_frontRiverview Medical Center bought the former Worden-Hoidal Funeral Home facility in July for $2.3 million.

Coming soon to East Front Street: another empty lot.

Riverview Medical Center
has asked Red Bank for a permit to demolish a longtime funeral home it bought this summer for $2.3 million and replace it with… nothing.

Tony Cava, the hospital’s vice president of strategic planning, tells redbankgreen that Riverview bought the property for its strategic location — one door east of the hospital’s dialysis center and directly opposite East Front Street from the medical center itself.

There were, and still are, no plans to use the existing structure or build something new there, he says.

So why tear down?

“We really have no use for it,” Cava says.

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NO-BIG-MISFORTUNE HOUSE

Fortune_house_808The former home of African-American journalist T. Thomas Fortune is safe — for now, that is.

There’s demolition work underway at the historic Fortune house property on Drs. James Parker Boulevard, but no reason to be alarmed, says unofficial Red Bank historian George Bowden, who’s been fighting to preserve the place.

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FORMER COAL & FEED BUILDING MAY GO

26_shrewsburyThe building has been at its location since the 1920s, says preservationist George Bowden.

A link to Red Bank’s past may soon fall to the bulldozer.

Sourlis International, owner of the Galleria, is looking into demolishing an old red barn it owns just across Shrewsbury Avenue from the shopping, dining and office complex, a company employee confirms.

“It’s a bit of an eyesore,” says manager Ted Whitehouse, who says the company is looking into state Department of Environmental Protection requirements to see if any apply to the demolition of the structure.

No permits have yet been sought from either the state or the borough, he tells redbankgreen.

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OLDEST NEIGHBORHOOD LOOKS TO FUTURE

Img_6517Residents of the proposed Washington Street historic district watched a laptop slide show featuring the 106 homes that would be included.

Proponents of a new historic district that would embrace Red Bank’s Washington Street neighborhood appeared to overcome the mild skepticism of about two dozen area residents who turned out at borough hall for a discussion on the topic last night.

Why, one resident wanted to know, did backers of the plan think they’d be able to attain their goal of district designation when, in the past, the borough council has been “hostile” to the idea?

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WASHINGTON STREET ON THE TABLE

Img_6421Nice old house on Washington Street.

Residents of a proposed Washington Street historic district are being encouraged to attend a presentation tonight on what the designation would mean.

The district includes Washington, upper Spring Street, Mount Street and parts of Wallace and Mechanic streets. It is believed to be the oldest residential zone in Red Bank.

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COMING SOON TO STORES: BUNTING BOYS

Bunting3

We call them the ‘bunting boys’ because ‘The History Boys‘ is taken, and one of them is among the most vigorous 80-year-olds you’ll ever encounter (not to mention one of the most colorful wielders of the English language).

Ed Zipprich and George Bowden of the Red Bank Historic Preservation Commission are planning to canvas businesses with an offering of flags, bunting and other decorative accoutrements of old-timey American jublilees next week.

Bunting2b

Their aim? To bedeck the proposed route of the borough’s May 17 centennial parade with as much red, white and blue as the facades can handle, and thus revive a sense of the pride and community spirit that was far more in evidence a century ago.

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THIS ONE TAKES THE CAKE

RbcakeEd Zipprich’s civic-minded dessert, complete with iceboat logo.

Turns out Red Bank’s centennial did not go completely overlooked this weekend.

River Road resident Ed Zipprich and his partner, JP Nicolaides, threw a little party for neighbors and friends that featured the cake shown above.

In response to our posting earlier today — in which we asked “Where’s the cake?” — Zipprich tells us, via an email, “I have the birthday cake.”

(Doesn’t quite have the dark resonance of “I drink your milkshake,” but hey, it’s a party.)

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SLEDGER SPOTLIGHTS FORTUNE HOUSE

Bowden2

Today’s Sunday Star-Ledger has an extensive piece about the black activist journalist T. (Timothy) Thomas Fortune and the effort to save his longtime Red Bank home from the wrecking ball — or, as the article’s author puts it, “from predatory developers.”

The story’s not online; so far, it appears only in the print version’s Perspective section.

Authored by Claire Serant, a journalism professor at St. John’s University, the article notes that Fortune was born a slave in 1856, wrote for the white-owned New York Sun — “which was no small feat in the late 1800s” — and helped found a predecessor organization to the NAACP.

He also founded three national newspapers. One of them, the New York Age, “was the most widely read black newspaper of the era,” Serant writes. And he used the term “Afro-Americans” to denote black people at the time when ‘colored’ and ‘Negro’ were the standards.

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BOWDEN: CENTENNIAL PLANNING TOO SLOW

Vintageboden2_ir

For a guy who just turned 80, George Bowden has a lot of energy. Some of it gets steered into his passion for trying to preserve old buildings in Red Bank as chairman of the borough’s Historical Preservation Commission. Some he expends on his favorite pastime, fishing.

But that still leaves Bowden with juice to spare, and he’s eager to burn it up getting the town ready for its 100th anniversary next year.

Problem is, not much is happening on that front in terms of guidance. And that’s making Bowden nervous, given the narrowing window of opportunity to plan something special.

“It’s been sort of dead in the water,” Bowden told redbankgreen recently, noting that an event planning committee appointed by Mayor Pasquale Menna earlier this year has had just one meeting. Bowden’s a member, but not heading it up.

“My concern is that here’s a tremendous amount of work to be done, and I have trouble pedaling a bicycle without a chain,” Bowden says.

Menna tells us he understands Bowden’s antsiness, but says there is progress being made.

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NO SALE FOR FORTUNE HOUSE, FOR NOW

Bowden2

A proposed deal that would have put the historic T. Thomas Fortune house into the hands of developers is dead for now, redbankgreen has learned.

Real estate broker Geoff Brothers, who is handling the sale, confirmed that the would-be buyers, who have not been publicly identified, have withdrawn their offer.

George Bowden, chairman of the Red Bank Historic Preservation Commission, said the demise of the deal is, “in many respects, happy news.

“We’ve been sweating that one out for months,” he said.

Preservationists earlier this year won a key historic designation for the house, which was owned and occupied early in the 20th century by Fortune, a pioneering African-American journalist.

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HISTORY v. AFFORDABLE HOUSING?

Bowden2

The prospective buyers of the historic T. Thomas Fortune house property want to develop the site into affordable housing, according to a press release from the borough Historic Preservation Commission.

The names of the would-be buyers have yet to be disclosed, and this is the first we’re hearing of what they’ve got planned for the site, at 94 Drs. James Parker Boulevard.

If the report is true, though, the plan would appear to pit the historians against preservationists of another stripe: those who want to keep the West Side an affordable place to live.

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PRESS: OFFER MADE ON FORTUNE HOUSE

Bowden2

A group of undisclosed buyers has made an offer for the historic T. Thomas Fortune house on Drs. Parker Boulevard, the Asbury Park Press reports today.

A contract has yet to be signed by the sellers, the paper reports. But the prospect of a sale has mobilized historic preservationists in recent months. They fear that the next owner of the property, home nearly a century ago to one of America’s most prominent African-American journalists, will tear it down for redevelopment.

Commercial real estate broker Geoff Brothers, who is handling the sale, tells the Press that the prospective buyers are sensitive to the historical importance of the site.

“The house is a grand old structure. It would behoove everyone to see it maintained, and that is the intent of all parties,” Brothers said. “It will require some cooperative effort from the borough and contract purchaser.”

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WET OFF THE PRESS: THE WATERFRONT PLAN

Rb_planbook1a

After a series of discussions over the past couple of years about how to improve access to and the usability of the Swimming River and Navesink River shorelines, the Red Bank Waterfront Plan is finally ready.

Have at it, folks. It’s at the borough website. Hard copies are available at the borough clerk’s office.

The 110-page paperback plan, prepared by the urban planning and architecture firm of Wallace, Roberts & Todd of Philadelphia, is filled with color photos, aerial shots and blue-sky concept drawings of what might be done to turn inaccessible patches of riverside into strollable and explorable stretches.

Given the state of the borough’s wallet, it’s clearly a kind of Christmas wish list. But Lou DiMento, chairman of the borough environmental commission, says it has value.

“The benefit of the document is it gives people a sense of, ‘What if they got really ambitious — how could we make some very significant waterfront improvements?'” he says.

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