RED BANK: CLAY COURTS SCRAPED

The clay tennis courts at Marine Park, as seen Wednesday morning. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

After sitting untouched and off-limits for nearly six years, Red Bank’s waterfront clay tennis courts got some attention from heavy equipment earlier this week.

And of course, the rumor mill lit up. Which means it’s time to call in redbankgreen‘s periodic feature known as What’s Going On Here?

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RED BANK: BRAINSTORMING ON MARINE PARK

Borough resident Keith May speaking at the second of two sessions held Monday. Below, some of the suggestions recorded during the first session. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Invoking the planning process that resulted in the creation of Riverside Gardens Park two decades ago, Red Bank officials launched an effort Monday to remake nearby Marine Park.

At two public brainstorming sessions held at borough hall, residents and visitors weighed in on such matters as small-vessel access to the Navesink River, parking, river cruises and the future of the park’s clay tennis courts, among other topics.

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PRIVATE OPERATORS EYE RED BANK COURTS

rb tennis ct 2 091113The clay courts overlooking the Navesink River at Marine Park, closed since Hurricane Sandy, could go under private management. The adjacent lavatories, meantime, are to be demolished and replaced with new facilities on higher ground. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A year after Hurricane Sandy sent the Navesink River surging, Red Bank’s cherished red-clay tennis courts at Marine Park remain closed and weed-strewn, to the heartbreak of players.

“They’re a treasure to Red Bank,” said Dan Ciaglia, who says he’s played at the courts “three, four, five times a week in the summer for the past 30 years.”

Since Sandy, Ciaglia said, he’s played various hard courts, but considers the clay courts special not only for the surface and location, but for “the little community of people” who play there.

Now, as borough officials plan to relocate adjacent lavatories to higher ground in the park, they’re also sorting through informal proposals that could put the courts under private management.

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RED BANK: CLAY COURTS STILL CLOSED

Rich Nicoletti at Red Bank’s clay courts, which remain out of commission seven months after Hurricane Sandy. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Rich Nicoletti first hit Red Bank’s clay tennis courts in 1955. A few years later, he became assistant to the facility’s tennis pro. In 1990, he was named pro, a title he holds to this day.

“It’s safe to say I easily spent a quarter of my life down here,” Nicoletti said recently, standing on the red clay surface in Marine Park. Rarely, though, has he seen the courts as ravaged as they were by the churning waters of the Navesink River, just feet away, during Hurricane Sandy.

The courts, he said, “were just completely dug up” by the roiling river.

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