The owners of Fair Haven’s Dunkin’ coffee shop presented $5,000 Monday to Compañeros de Comida, a student-run volunteer organization that has provided more than 144,000 meals to children and families in need since April, 2020.
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.
Developer 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
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.
Developer 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
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.
Developer 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)
The 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
After 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.
The 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
The 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.
Red 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)
Sunday’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)
A 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
A 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.
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
The 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.
Michael 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
The 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.
Students from Red Bank Charter School helped unload a tractor-trailer full of donated food and personal care items at Lunch Break Monday morning. The material came from Johnstown, Pennsylvania-area residents, who responded to a plea for storm relief by radio station 96Key. (Photos by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)
The 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)
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.
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.
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.