RED BANK: CONTAMINATION SHUTS GARDEN

red bank community garden 081219Caution tape and notices at the entrance to the community garden on Marion Street Monday morning. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank has shut down its sole community garden out of “an abundance of caution” over possible lead contamination, the borough government announced Monday.

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RED BANK: SUNSET PARK CONCEPT TO DEBUT

The so-called Sunset Park concept plan includes a soccer field, riverfront boardwalk, kayak launch and other amenities. (Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank residents will get their first look Monday night at a concept plan for a new park on the town’s long-closed landfill site overlooking the Swimming River.

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RED BANK: RESIDENTS RESIST DUMP-SITE PARK

The audience at the Celestial Lodge Friday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank residents delivered a message to borough officials Friday night about a new park proposed at the town’s long-closed landfill site: not everyone wants it.

At a town-hall-style meeting held at the Celestial Lodge #36 on Drs. James Parker Boulevard, area residents expressed concerns that the dump might never be made safe for public use.

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RED BANK: PLANTING SEEDS FOR FUTURE PARK

A map showing the extended former landfill site outlined in green. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

We need a skatepark. We need a playgrounds for West Side kids. We need to remember that this is a neighborhood that can’t handle throngs of out-of-town visitors.

Red Bank residents offered those and other suggestions as the process of shaping a new waterfront park out of the former town dump got underway with a community brainstorming session last Thursday night.

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NO TAKERS FOR TAINTED PROPERTIES

ls-texaco-060710The former Hunter’s Texaco station and the onetime home of the Wicker Rose, in background, failed to attract any bids at a bankruptcy auction Tuesday. (Click to enlarge)

Three Little Silver properties put up for auction as part of the wind-down of the massive Solomon Dwek bank fraud case failed to attract a single bid Tuesday.

The adjoining properties — a former Texaco station, the former home of the Wicker Rose furniture store and a small house, all at the juncture of Willow Drive and Sycamore Avenue — have significant underground contamination issues resulting from fuel leakage from the filling station and other sources.

The absence of bids was “not exactly what we were looking for,” said Ray Smith, of Stafford Smith Realty, which managed the auction on behalf of a court-appointed bankruptcy trustee. “But in light of the environmental conditions there, it’s not a big surprise.”

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SILVER LINING AT LITTLE SILVER CORNER?

wicker-rose-texaco-lsBoth the former Wicker Rose building,  foreground, and the abandoned Texaco station in the background have “substantial” environmental issues. (Click to enlarge)

Three adjoining Little Silver properties with the taint of fraud and pollution go on the auction block tomorrow.

The whiff of financial chicanery comes from their connection to Solomon Dwek, the Ocean Township real estate investor-turned-federal-informant, who acquired them as part of a massive $400 million real estate roll-up scheme studded with allegations of bank fraud. That was before Dwek agreed to wear a wire and bribe elected officials snared in a statewide public-corruption sweep last year.

The underground pollution is literally traceable to one of the three properties, a former Texaco filling station, as well as from other sources, says real estate marketer Ray Smith, whose firm will conduct the auction.

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PARK AT INCINERATOR SITE YEARS AWAY

incinerator-ballard-mennaMayor Pasquale Menna with engineer Christine Ballard of T&M Associates at the incinerator site last Friday. (Click to enlarge)

The work of finally pulverizing Red Bank’s 70-plus-year-old incinerator smokestack to dust could begin as soon as tomorrow.

But replacing the stack and adjoining garbage dump, both long out of service, with a pristine 8.5-acre park overlooking the upper Navesink River may still be years from beginning, borough officials acknowledge.

They don’t know, for starters, if there are drums of waste buried around the incinerator, and will have to x-ray the ground to find out, borough engineer Christin Ballard says.

Even if tests come up clean, though, local officials may face strong objections from neighbors of the West Sunset Avenue property, some of whom envision nothing but trouble at the dead end of their street if a park is created there.

“I’m just afraid that’s going to be a hangout,” Marcelle Seruby, a senior citizen and West Sunset resident for over 50 years, told redbankgreen recently. “I just feel that it’s unsafe for us. The police have enough to do.”

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