RED BANK: RECHNITZES GIVE $5M TO HOSPITAL

The husband-and-wife founders of Red Bank’s Two River Theater have donated $5 million to kick off a fundraiser for Riverview Medical Center, the hospital’s parent organization announced Thursday. And it’s not the first time, either.

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RED BANK: RACIAL ROOTS OF MEMORIAL DAY

Walter Greason in 2014.   (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

As part of a continuing series of discussions called “Let’s Talk About Race,” the Red Bank Public Library hosts a lecture Wednesday night on “The Surprising Origins of Memorial Day.”

RED BANK: DONATED HOUSE COMING DOWN

rb 27 linden 012417doug-cavanaughTwo years after the death of its owner, the house at 27 Linden Place in Red Bank is slated for demolition this week.

Doug Cavanaugh, seen at right in 2009 painting a hitching post he installed outside the house, left the property in his will to Saint James Roman Catholic Church, whose schools he’d attended.

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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: 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: BASIE NETS $1M FOR STUDENT ARTS

basie-marquee-3-090213-500x375donegoodlogoRed Bank’s Count Basie Theatre is $1 million richer this month, thanks to a Brielle-based charity. The Charles Lafitte Foundation, founded by Vonage board chairman Jeffrey Citron and his wife, Suzanne, matched funds raised at the foundation’s annual single-beneficiary golf outing, held June 29 in Union County, to raise a record sum for the theater.

Adam Philipson, the Basie’s president and CEO, said the money will be used to create an endowment that will make the arts available to students of all backgrounds “for generations to come.” (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

RED BANK: NYTIMES NOTES FORTUNE EFFORT

rb fortune house 2 061213Timothy_Thomas_FortuneSunday’s edition of the New York Times includes an article on the divergent fates of two historic New Jersey homes, one of them the Red Bank abode of early 20th-century civil rights journalist T. Thomas Fortune.

Fortune’s house, on Dr. James Parker Boulevard, is the subject of an effort by the nonprofit T. Thomas Fortune Project to save it from demolition and turn it into a cultural center. At right, an undated photo of Fortune.  (Photo above by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

 

RED BANK: $100K PLEDGE FOR FORTUNE HOUSE

rb fortune house 2 061213A volunteer group hopes to acquire the onetime home of pioneering human rights journalist T. Thomas Fortune for use as a cultural center. Below, an undated photo of Fortune.  (Photo above by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Timothy_Thomas_FortuneA slow-building effort launched eight years ago to save a historic Red Bank structure from the wrecking ball has gotten a jolt of adrenaline.

A donor has pledged $100,000 to the effort to acquire and revitalize the onetime home of pioneering African-American journalist T. Thomas Fortune, redbankgreen has learned.

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RED BANK: NEWEST COP LEARNING THE BEAT

rb k9 020415 1 Looking a little sleepy at the end of his first day on the job, Hunter relaxes with his handler, Patrolman Stan Balmer. Below, the pair with the new vehicle that will be assigned to them once it’s rigged up. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb k9 020415 2The newest member of the Red Bank police department got a tour of the town Wednesday, acquainting himself with the streets and train station. At day’s end, a bit sleepy-eyed, he took a leak behind the police station.

His name is Hunter, he’s 20 months old, and he’s the first official police dog in the borough’s history.

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RED BANK: LUNCH BREAK GETS $1 MILLION

lunch break 092914The donation will ensure completion of a major expansion of the soup kitchen now underway, officials said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

just_in1Red Bank’s Lunch Break soup kitchen has landed a $1 million donation from a philanthropist who asked not to be publicly identified, the organization announced Monday.

The donation, already in the bank, pushed Lunch Break to 80 percent of its $5 million capital campaign to pay for a sizable expansion of its facility on Drs. James Parker Boulevard.

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RED BANK: MATTRESS MAVEN PICKS UP K9 TAB

michael fux 2 081211Michael Fux, above on Broad Street  in 2011. His donation cleared the way for the addition of Rugger, an 11-month-old German shepherd, to the RBPD. (Rugger photo courtesy of RBPD. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb k9 rugger 092414 3The Red Bank police department has a new, four-legged member, thanks to mattress millionaire Michael Fux.

A fundraising drive launched earlier this month to create a new K9 unit came to an abrupt end Wednesday night when the town council accepted a $38,000 donation from Fux (pronounced ‘fyooks’) and his wife, Gloria Rubin, to cover nearly the entire cost of a police dog, a specially equipped vehicle to transport it and training for the dog and his handler.

The dog has already been acquired. He’s an 11-month-old male German shepherd named Rugger by his new master, Patrolman Stan Balmer. The two are off to 16 weeks of K9 school in Long Branch starting Monday.

“We’re already bonding,” said Balmer, a former rugby player, or “rugger,” as he showed off cellphone photos of his new partner.

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GROCERY SCION DONATES $1M TO RIVERVIEW

The gift puts Riverview’s campaign to pay for a new day-stay surgery center past its $15 million goal. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A Navesink couple is the latest in a string of wealthy donors to write a whopping check to help pay for a new surgical center at Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, the hospital announced late Tuesday.

Richard Saker, the third-generation CEO of the Saker ShopRite chain, and his wife, Laura, have donated $1 million to the cause through the business, the hospital reports.

The commitment pushes the hospital’s campaign for the 22,000-square-foor surgery center “well past” its $15 million goal, the nonprofit said in its announcement.

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TWO HOUSES DONATED TO LUNCH BREAK

housesThe two properties adjoining Lunch Break, at right above, will be used to provide social services and clothing to the needy, if plans are approved. (Click to enlarge)

clothing

Space is tight at Lunch Break, the Red Bank soup kitchen.

Because of soaring demand for hot meals and canned goods, the need for pantry space has soared, too. Volunteers handling administrative duties share dining tables with clients who come for the meals. Every Saturday, bundles of clothing stored in the basement of the 25-year-old facility named for co-founder Norma Todd must be carted upstairs, out through a parking lot and back into the ground-floor dining room for distribution to clients in need.  When winter approaches, executive director Gwen Love has to clear out of her cramped office so clients can get flu shots in private.

The space shortage is more than just an inconvenience. It impinges on Lunch Break’s mission, says Love: to deliver services to those in need with a measure of dignity and respect.

So the recent donation of two houses adjoining Lunch Break’s home at 121 on Drs. James Parker Boulevard, just as the organization was about to embark on a search for additional space, was something of a “miracle,” says Love.

“Every now and then, it rains down blessings,” she tells redbankgreen.

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RIVERVIEW NETS ANOTHER $1M FROM DONORS

RiverviewmedctrThe hospital has raised $6 million of its $15 million capital campaign from two Middletown couples. (File photo. Click to enlarge)

Little more than a week after disclosing it had received a $5 million donation toward a planned $15 million revamping of its operating rooms, Red Bank’s Riverview Medical Center announced Monday that another $1 million contribution had come in.

The donation, by George and Vita Kolber, of the Locust section of Middletown, will go toward the construction of a new 22,000-square foot “center for surgical excellence” within the exisiting footprint of the Red Bank hospital, officials said.

A $5 million donation by Kolber neighbors Bob & Joan Rechnitz, founders of the Two River Theater Company, is to be used for the same purpose.

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THEATER FOUNDERS GIVE RIVERVIEW $5M

rechnitzes-032611Bob Rechnitz, right, with wife Joan and Two River Theater board member Paul Kaylor at Saturday night’s opening of ‘Candida.’ (Click to enlarge)

donegoodlogo rightA planned $15 million revamping of the operating rooms at Red Bank’s Riverview Medical Center has gotten a big boost from a Middletown couple.

Joan and Bob Rechnitz, founders of the nonprofit Two River Theater Company, have donated $5 million to the effort, the hospital announced Monday morning.

Riverview officials called it one of the largest single gifts in the hospital’s history, and said a portion of the funds would be used to construct a conference and educational center designed to attract “superior surgeons with niche specialties” to lectures and symposiums.

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