Search Results for: historic preservation commission

PRESS: OFFER MADE ON FORTUNE HOUSE

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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

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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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FORTUNE HOUSE’S GOOD FORTUNE, FOR NOW

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The T. Thomas Fortune House, home to one of America’s first African-American newspaper publishers — and coiner of the term ‘African-American’ — is among New Jersey’s 10 most endangered historic locales, a statewide conservation group said yesterday.

The inclusion of the house by Preservation New Jersey is the latest in a series of designations granted to the structure at 94 Drs. James Parker Boulevard. It was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976 and to a comparable New Jersey list three years later.

Still, like the designations that came before it, the latest one conveys no special status should the current or a future owner of the property decide to tear it down. And that possibility has Red Bank history buffs on edge because the house is up for sale by its longtime owners, the Vaccarelli family.

“It doesn’t give us any leverage to stop a demolition,” says George Bowden, chairman of the borough’s Historic Preservation Committee. “But the concern is there. This is one we don’t want to go down the tubes.”

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