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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RED BANK: PARK SESSIONS RESCHEDULED

Public-input sessions on the future of Marine Park in Red Bank have been rescheduled for Monday, April 9, at 4:30 and 7 p.m. at hall. They were originally slated for March 21 but were canceled because of a snowstorm.

For more information, check out redbankgreen‘s coverage here.

 

RED BANK: MARINE PARK MAKEOVER KICKS OFF

[UPDATE MARCH 28: Public-input sessions on the future of Marine Park have been rescheduled for Monday, April 9, at 4:30 and 7 p.m. at hall. They were originally slated for March 21 but were canceled because of a snowstorm.]

Almost two years after the Red Bank council rejected three private-sector proposals for use of the red clay tennis courts in Marine Park, the governing body is laying the groundwork for a possible makeover of the entire 2.2-acre riverfront park.

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RED BANK: RETHINKING ALL OF MARINE PARK

rich nicoletti 060816 2Longtime Red Bank clay courts tennis pro Rich Nicoletti on the site of the dormant riverfront facility earlier this month. The Monmouth Boat Club is in the background. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD
WhatsGoingOnHere

This time of year, scuffing footwork and the thwok of tennis balls would normally be heard most summer mornings down by the Navesink River in Red Bank’s Marine Park, widely considered nirvana among aficionados for its unusual red clay courts.

It was certainly that for Rich Nicoletti, who grew up in an apartment above what’s now the Downtown nightclub just up the hill, and spent decades as the tennis pro at the borough-owned facility.

“These tennis courts were a gem,” said the retired sports journalist, who at 73 estimates he’s spent fully one-quarter of his life at the site. “It was beautiful.”

But 86 years after they opened, the courts may have seen their last match.

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RED BANK: TENNIS FANS MUSTER FOR COURTS

rb tennis 111015 2The tennis courts, overgrown with weeds since being swamped by Hurricane Sandy three years ago, got a sprucing-up from the borough last week. (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03As expected, the Red Bank council derailed an ambitious plan for $3.5 million worth of private development on the site of the borough-owned red clay tennis courts in Marine Park Monday night.

Still, a roomful of frustrated tennis enthusiasts packed the council chambers, many of them holding paper signs urging the council to now restore the hurricane-damaged riverfront courts to playability.

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RED BANK: MARINE PARK PROJECTS NIXED

rb tennis 081915 2The clay tennis courts at Marine Park as seen in August. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03All three private-sector proposals for the future of Red Bank’s hurricane-damaged Marine Park clay tennis courts should be rejected, a triumverate of borough council members is expected to say in a report next week.

The recommendation to the full council is being made in spite of the fact that one pitch, by startup Jetsun Enterprises, was far and away the winner on paper. But in the court of public opinion, it was over the line, Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer told redbankgreen on Monday.

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RED BANK: BURNHAM BLASTS PARK DELAY

rb tennis 081915 2The clay tennis courts at Marine Park as seen last month. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Five months after three proposals were submitted, the Red Bank council has yet to receive a recommendation on the future of the hurricane-damaged Marine Park clay tennis courts, and may not get one before election day.

That has Republican Councilwoman Cindy Burnham — who redbankgreen has learned was chastised behind closed doors by her colleagues for saying too much about the issue — ramping up her complaints that there’s something “fishy” going on.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL GIRDS FOR POSSIBLE SUIT

rb tennis 081915 1The clay tennis courts at Marine Park as seen last month, above. Below, an architect’s depiction of the proposed Red Bank Harbor plan. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank harbor 3 041515Red Bank’s mayor and council held a closed-door meeting Wednesday night to discuss potential litigation over the process that could lead to a makeover of the hurricane-damaged clay tennis courts in Marine Park.

Mayor Pasquale Menna told redbankgreen shortly beforehand that the topics to be discussed by the governing body in executive session included “possible litigation” concerning the tennis court site, though he declined to be more specific.

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RED BANK: JETSUN DEFENDS PROPOSAL

red bank harbor 1 041515A rendering by architect Mike Simpson of the Red Bank Harbor proposal, as seen from the horseshoe marina at Marine Park. Below, Jetsun principals Doug Booton, Michael Hernandez and Anthony Jude Setaro at the Red Bank Mayor’s Charity Ball in May. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

jetsuns 050115Jetsun Enterprises is not proposing a “Coney Island” in Marine Park, the startup developer said Tuesday night, in response to criticism by Red Bank Councilman Mike DuPont and comments posted on redbankgreen.

“Comparing our proposal to any large theme park such as Coney Island or Seaside is both illogical and irresponsible,” Jetsun said in a press release. “We are offering small recreational activities for families, not building rollercoasters and ferris wheels. We are extending the existing promenade, not constructing a boardwalk.” Read More »

RED BANK: DUPONT ZAPS JETSUN PROPOSAL

rb tennis 060614 2The red clay courts, idled since Hurricane Sandy, as seen from the Monmouth Boat Club next door. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Red Bank Councilman Mike DuPont has signaled he will oppose a proposal for a privately owned recreational center on the site of the borough’s riverfront tennis courts in Marine Park.

Calling the proposal, by Jetsun Enterprises, “10 pounds of potatoes in a 5 pound bag,” DuPont wrote in a letter that it “puts every imaginable use down at Marine Park with the exception of not having a ferris wheel” and could turn Red Bank into “Coney Island South.”

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RED BANK: ACTION EXPECTED ON COURT PLANS

rb tennis 042515 2HOT-TOPIC_03Wondering about the fate of Red Bank’s clay tennis courts in Marine Park, and whether they’ll be saved or replaced by either of two competing proposals to develop the waterfront site?

After nearly two months of silence, the borough parks and rec committee is expected to discuss the issue Monday night, when it could issue its non-binding recommendation to a trio of council members – Linda Schwabenbauer, Kathy Horgan and Ed Zipprich.

The councilmembers, in turn, are expected to meet Tuesday night in a closed session to “score” three proposals, one of which calls for keeping the courts, according to criteria set out in bids. They’ll also weigh comments made at a public forum held in May and afterward, said Schwabenbauer, who expects the committee to make a recommendation to the full governing body by the end of August, she said Wednesday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

RED BANK: TENNIS COURT IDEAS VOLLEYED

jetsun 2 052815  An exhibit showed the layout of the Jetsun proposal superimposed an aerial view of the park. Below, MPAC principals Phil Flego, Gayle Horvath and Sandy Talarico make their pitch. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

mpac 1 052815What should be done with the hurricane-damaged red clay tennis courts at Red Bank’s riverfront Marine Park?

For almost three hours Thursday night, area residents offered opinions and teased out details of three formal proposals: one that calls for restoring the courts with a $500,000 donation by a Locust resident, and two that envision real estate development of river-oriented activity centers.

Each had its advocates and opponents, and none appeared to have won the hearts of all 120 people in attendance.

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RED BANK PUTTING COURT PLANS INTO PLAY

rb tennis 042515 4The courts haven’t been playable since they were swamped by the Navesink River during Hurricane Sandy in October, 2012. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Three proposals for the future of Red Bank’s red clay tennis courts in Marine Park are scheduled for public airing later this month.

The borough council will hold a special meeting on Thursday, May 28, at the Red Bank Middle School for presentations of the three plans. Two of them include ambitious real estate development and river-oriented activities, while the third aims to keep the site as a tennis facility.

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RED BANK: CLASSIC BOATHOUSE PROPOSED

MPAC rendering 041515A rendering of the proposed Marine Park Activity Center shows the existing Monmouth Boat Club at right. (Rendering by Katie Osepchuk. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03One of three proposed plans for the reuse Red Bank’s dormant clay tennis courts calls for the construction of a classic boathouse topped by a catering hall on the Navesink River in Marine Park.

The project, dubbed the Marine Park Activity Center, reflects the traditional river-oriented focus of two groups –  Navesink River Rowing club and the Navesink Maritime Heritage Association – anchored by a structure similar to boathouses in West Windsor and Camden, its proponents said.

redbankgreen detailed another of the three plans, called Red Bank Harbor, on Wednesday. The third proposal consists solely of an individual’s offer to donate $500,000 to the borough for the restoration of the site as a red-clay tennis facility, redbankgreen has learned.

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RED BANK: RIVERFRONT REC CENTER PROPOSED

red bank harbor 1 041515Renderings of the proposed Red Bank Harbor plan filed with the borough government on Wednesday. The horseshoe-shaped borough marina is in the foreground above. (Drawings by S.O.M.E. Architects. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank harbor 2 041515Vastly eclipsing the concept of a mere dog run, a startup development firm has proposed the creation of a privately funded, $3.5 million recreation facility on the site of Red Bank’s borough-owned red clay tennis courts in Marine Park, redbankgreen has learned.

Dubbed Red Bank Harbor, the plan drafted by Jetsun Enterprises and filed at borough hall on Wednesday calls for the creation of an enclosed visitors’ center along with an 18-hole miniature golf course, a synthetic ice rink, a boathouse for rental of paddleboats and kayaks, and a concession stand in the park, which fronts on the Navesink River.

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RED BANK: TENNIS COURTS? YOUR SERVE.

rb tennis 061414Do you have an idea and viable plan for the use of Red Bank’s 74-year-old red-clay tennis courts?

The riverfront facility in Marine Park, out of action since it was wrecked by Hurricane Sandy, are the subject of a request for proposals released Thursday. So far, talk has included restoration of the courts, turning at least two of the courts into a dog run, and a wholesale repurposing of the site as a multiuse, water-oriented recreation facility.

The deadline for submissions is 10 a.m. on April 15. Here’s the 165-page submission packet: RB RFP 032015. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

RED BANK: TENNIS COURTS MAY GET BOUNCED

RB TENNIS CTS 020715 1The courts, which adjoin the privately owned Monmouth Boat Club, center, haven’t been playable since Hurricane Sandy. Below, the principals of Jetsun Enterprises – Anthony Jude Setaro, Michael Hernandez and Doug Booton – want to develop the site for new recreational uses. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

jetsun 022315Red Bank’s 74-year-old red-clay tennis courts, out of action since they were damaged by Hurricane Sandy 28 months ago, may be turned into a dog run, at least short-term.

Longer-term, a trio of thirty-something locals hopes to transform the courts, which overlook the Navesink River from Marine Park, into a multiuse recreational facility that would, they say, put money into the town’s coffers.

Either way, the courts may have seen their last volley of tennis.

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RED BANK: FIREFIGHTERS FREE TRAPPED HAWK

rb hawk 012915 1The bird makes a break for freedom under the watch of a decoy owl. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb hawk 012915 5Red Bank volunteer firefighters rescued a juvenile hawk trapped in an open-air tower Thursday morning just as the animal appeared near starvation, an amateur ornithologist said.

The bird, a Cooper’s Hawk, had apparently been up under the peaked roof of the tower at the Medieval-style Courts of Red Bank office complex for days, having somehow bypassed steel netting installed just last fall to keep out pigeons.

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