RED BANK: HOMEBUILDER EYES FACTORIES

A cluster of industrial buildings between Catherine Street, above, and River Street would be razed for new brownstones, according to the prospective builder. Part of the site abuts the Cedar Crossing homes, seen in the distance above. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A block of factory buildings on Red Bank’s West Side, including some old millworks and a former guitar factory, could give way to new housing in coming months, redbankgreen has learned.

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RED BANK: FORTUNE HOUSE’S GOOD FORTUNE

mumford fortune 072716 1Developer Roger Mumford leads high school journalism students on a tour of the Fortune House. Below, Mumford with preservationist Gilda Rogers. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

gilda rogers roger mumford 072716

Less than a week after the Red Bank zoning board approved a plan to save it, the still-crumbling T. Thomas Fortune House offered a preview Wednesday of its anticipated role: as a cultural and educational center.

About a dozen high school students from around New Jersey took an exterior tour of the onetime home of pioneering civil rights journalist, who lived in it for a decade starting in 1901 and entertained the leading lights of black culture there. In the process, they also got a lesson in how the interests of preservationists and profit-minded developers might converge.

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RED BANK: FORTUNE HOUSE RESCUE PLAN OK’D

ROGER MUMFORD 072116 1Developer Roger Mumford with an architect’s rendering of the T. Thomas Fortune house as it would appear after restoration. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

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A decade-long effort to save an endangered artifact of African-American history cleared a major milestone Thursday night when the Red Bank zoning board approved a developer’s plan to rebuild the T. Thomas Fortune house and create 31 apartments on its one-acre property.

Borough-based homebuilder Roger Mumford, who vowed to restore and donate the house for use as a cultural center before he would seek certificates of occupancy for the apartments, was hailed as the last-chance savior of a vital relic of the civil rights movement that its current owners want to raze. Residents told the board before its vote that Mumford deserved the tradeoff of more than a dozen variances, most of them arising from the apartment plan.

“If a development project has ever given back to the community, it’s this one,” said Kalman Pipo, a member of the borough’s Historic Preservation Commission. “If this project doesn’t go through, we are going to lose this house” to the wrecking ball, he said.

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RED BANK: FORTUNE HOUSE PLAN SCHEDULED

rb fortune house 100614 3Fortune future 062816Developer Roger Mumford‘s plan to save the dilapidated T. Thomas Fortune house on Drs. James Parker Boulevard in Red Bank faces its first test this week.

The proposal, which is backed by a volunteer group hoping to preserve the pioneering civil rights journalist’s home, calls for restoring the National Historic Register structure for use as a cultural center devoted to preserving African American history and serving as a resource for social justice initiatives. The plan, dubbed “Fortune Square,” also includes a 32-unit apartment building proposed for the rear of the property. Multiple variances are required.

The hearing is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at borough hall, 90 Monmouth Street. Here’s the agenda: RBZB agenda 072116 (Click to enlarge)

 

RED BANK: BUILDER EYES FORTUNE HOUSE SITE

Fortune future 062816The home of pioneering human rights journalist T. Thomas Fortune would be restored for use as a cultural center, as shown in the architectural rendering above. Below, four views of the four-story, 32-unit apartment building proposed for the rear of the property.  (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

fortune square apartments 062816After years of efforts by volunteer historians to halt decades of decay, an historic Red Bank residence may be spared the wrecking ball.

Developer Roger Mumford has proposed restoring what he calls the “highly deteriorated” T. Thomas Fortune house on Drs. James Parker Boulevard and turning it into a cultural center.

Mumford’s plan comes with a catch: he wants the town to grant him a host of variances to construct 32 apartments on the site — more than twice the density allowed by zoning law. But he’s billing it as a win for all involved.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL ADVANCES RIVER CRUISES

The Red Bank Primary School Chorus entertained the council audience with two songs, including this variation on a Woody Guthrie tune. (Video by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

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Red Bank’s Marine Park could once again be the point of departure for commercial cruises on the Navesink River, following council action Wednesday night.

Details on that action, and other news from the council’s semimonthly meeting, are just around the read more corner.

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RED BANK: RIVERSIDE STAND TO OPEN SOON

rb riverside 062016 4WhatsGoingOnHereIt may not appear much is happening at the Riverside Gardens Park concession booth in Red Bank — and for years, almost nothing has, really. But inside, Gracie and the Dudes Organic Ice Cream of Sea Bright has been making progress on a plan to open the stand for regular daily and special-events service under a deal inked with the borough in April, owner Michelle McMullin tells redbankgreen.

McMullin expects to open the stand within two weeks, she said, carrying the company’s full menu of homemade ice cream, sundaes, milkshakes and organic Italian ices. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

RED BANK: ICE CREAM VENDOR TO RUN STAND

rb rgpark 090513In recent years, the Riverside Gardens concession booth has been open only during borough events in the park, and managed by borough employees and volunteers. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03A local ice cream business has won the right to run the rarely open concession stand in Red Bank’s Riverside Gardens Park.

Gracie and the Dudes Organic Ice Cream, which has a seasonal store in Sea Bright and one in Long Branch that’s open year-round, won council approval Wednesday night to lease the borough-owned facility for two years.

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RED BANK: CRUISES AND CONCESSIONS

riverside-concessionThe little-used concession stand at Riverside Gardens Park could be open regularly in coming months. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Quick bites overlooking the Navesink River, and pleasure cruises on it, were on the Red Bank council agenda Wednesday night, when the governing body authorized two items:

• the operation of the infrequently used concession stand in Riverside Gardens Park

• the development of specs for riverboat cruises out of Marine Park.

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RED BANK: STATE BIDS FOR FORTUNE HOUSE

rb fortune house 100614 1The home of pioneering human rights journalist T. Thomas Fortune has been vacant for many years. Below, an undated photo of Fortune, who owned it from 1901 to 1911.  (Photo above by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

T. Thomas FortuneThe state of New Jersey has thrown its support behind efforts to save a historic Red Bank structure by offering to acquire it, redbankgreen has learned.

Two members of the borough Historic Preservation Committee said the state Department of Environmental Protection, though its Green Acres program, has made a purchase offer to the owners of the crumbling T. Thomas Fortune house on Drs. James Parker Boulevard.

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RED BANK: PARKING REPORT UNDER WRAPS

rb white lot 2 032814Town officials have yet to disclose the recommendations of a consultant on what to do with the White Street lot. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03A document that could lay the conceptual groundwork for a new parking garage in downtown Red Bank remains under wraps.

Delivered last month, the roughly 100-page report, by the civil engineering firm CME Associates, offers recommendations on how the town should leverage an asset: its 2.3-acre White Street municipal lot, according to Mayor Pasquale Menna.

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RED BANK: PARKING GARAGE BACK ON AGENDA

white-st-lotThe borough plans to hire a consultant to advise it on how to get a garage built, most likely on the site of the White Street municipal lot, says Mayor Menna. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03The odds that a new parking garage might be built in downtown Red Bank rose Wednesday night.

The borough council is expected to have specifications ready for approval in two weeks for the hiring of a parking consultant, Mayor Pasquale Menna said in limited comments on the topic during the bimonthly council meeting.

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