RED BANK: McKENNA GETS HIS… ALLEYWAY

red bank mckenna alley 081519 The town-owned alleyway off Boat Club Court would be renamed for ex-mayor Ed McKenna, seen below at a zoning board meeting in March. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank ed mckenna 032119An alleyway in downtown Red Bank will be named in honor of former mayor Ed McKenna, the borough council informally agreed Wednesday night.

The nameless alley, off Boat Club Court, runs between a row of stores fronting on West Front Street and a vacant lot that’s slated to become home to a new 10-unit luxury condo project.

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RED BANK: WAWA MEGASTORE PLAN YANKED

Former Red Bank mayor Ed McKenna, left, grilled Wawa engineer Mark Whitaker over the proposal at a zoning board hearing in March. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[UPDATE: This post contains comments from site ower Frank Sala, who was unavailable at the time of the original posting.]

By JOHN T. WARD

Wawa’s coffee, subs and gasoline prices may have earned it a devoted following, but a controversial plan to build a supersized convenience store and filling station on Red Bank’s southern border has been withdrawn, redbankgreen has learned.

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RED BANK: TRAFFIC TALK SLOWS WAWA PLAN

The Wawa site plan, with the store at top and gas pump island shown in yellow, calls for the creation of a new center lane on Newman Springs Road allowing motorists traveling in both directions to make left turns. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Like a motorist stuck in rush-hour traffic, a supersized Wawa convenience store and filling station proposed for a problematic Red Bank intersection inched forward Thursday night.

At issue as the zoning board weighs the plan: whether the project would make congestion worse or improve traffic flow near the intersection of Newman Springs Road and Broad Street.

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RED BANK: WAWA TOUTS TRAFFIC PLAN

A site plan for the proposed project shows the store at center, the fueling area as the yellow rectangle, and center lane left-turn markings on Newman Springs Road, at bottom. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rather than worsening conditions for motorists, a proposed Wawa convenience store and filling station in Red Bank would come with roadway upgrades to improve traffic flow and safety near a busy intersection, witnesses told the borough zoning board Thursday night.

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RED BANK: THEATER ADDITION APPROVED

A rendering of the proposed addition to the left of the existing theater and fly tower at center, as seen from the northeast. (Rendering by Kaplan Gaunt Desantis Architects. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s Two River Theater won raves from neighbors, and zoning board approval, Thursday night for a plan to expand its non-performance space.

But West Street residents pressed for, and failed to obtain, changes to aspects of the plan that they worry will direct more traffic onto their block, some of it from motorists using the theater lot simply to avoid street traffic.

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RED BANK: BEER GARDEN, VEGAN PLANS OK’D

img_5866Birravino’s proposal for a 1,500-square-foot beer garden, as shown to the left of the existing restaurant in renderings below. (Photo by John T. Ward. Renderings by Michael James Monroe. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

birravino-plan-120516Two Red Bank restaurants won approvals for expansion plans Monday night.

• The borough planning board gave unanimous a OK to Good Karma Café, the only vegan restaurant downtown, to triple in size by leasing vacant retail space next door.  Read More »

RED BANK: MAYOR’S BALL II DRAWS A CROWD

philipson menna 050616rb mayors ball 050616 12Mayor Pasquale Menna, above right, welcomed Count Basie Theatre CEO Adam Philipson, left, and more than 200 other guests to the second annual Red Bank Mayor’s Charity Ball at the Oyster Point Hotel Friday night. Proceeds from the $125-per-head event were earmarked for the borough-based nonprofits Lunch Break and HABcore

Check out the photos from redbankgreen’s drive-thru of the cocktail hour, below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

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RED BANK: FOUR MAYORS… AND SOME FRIENDS

lee kuo 050115lock menna 050115The first-ever Red Bank Mayor’s Charity Ball brought together three ex-mayors, the current one and some 250 of their friends at the Oyster Point Hotel Friday night. Among those in attendance: former Councilwoman Sharon Lee and restaurateur Victor Kuo, above, and Pastor John Lock, with Mayor Pasquale Menna, at right.

Proceeds from the $125-per-head event were earmarked for the Red Bank Public Library and the Parker Family Health Center.

redbankgreen grabbed dozens of photos during the cocktail hour overlooking our beautiful Navesink River. Click the “read more” to see who else was there. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

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FORMER RED BANK MAYOR GUILTY OF DWI

mckenna 110513Former Mayor Ed McKenna, center, with Jesse Garrison, left, and Mayor Pasquale Menna on election night last November. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Former Red Bank Mayor Ed McKenna was convicted of drunken driving in Tinton Falls last week over an incident in which his car was alleged to have ended up facing oncoming traffic on the Garden State Parkway last year, according to a report in the Two River Times.

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FORMER RED BANK MAYOR ARRESTED FOR DWI

Former Mayor Ed McKenna tallies election returns at Democratic HQ last November. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Former Red Bank Mayor Ed McKenna was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated after a one-car accident on the Garden State Parkway Monday night, State Police said Wednesday.

According to agency spokesman Sergeant Adam Grossman, McKenna was traveling northbound in the express lanes of the highway in Tinton Falls at about 9:50 p.m. when his black 2012 Mercedes sedan “traveled along the guardrail, then stopped in a position facing oncoming traffic in the right lane.”

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BON JOVI OPENS SOUL KITCHEN

bon-jovi-dorotheaJon Bon Jovi gives his wife, Dorothea Bongiovi, an attagirl as she prepares a table at the opening of the JBJ Soul Kitchen Wednesday afternoon. The yard outside the restaurant, below, features a vegetable and herb garden. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

soul-kitchenWith a heavy rain irrigating the vegetable garden behind him and cameras streaming the event live, pop star Jon Bon Jovi inaugurated a pay-what-you-can-or-work-it-off restaurant on Monmouth Street in Red Bank Wednesday afternoon.

Dubbed the JBJ Soul Kitchen, the eatery is “not a soup kitchen,” Bon Jovi told a tent packed with press and local officials. “We hope to empower individuals who just need a hand up, and enable some who just need to lend a hand.”

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RED BANK COUNCIL CHANGES MEETING NIGHTS

rb-council-chambersCouncil meetings will now be held on Wednesday nights. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Got a concern, request or gripe of a municipal nature? Don’t bring it to Red Bank borough hall on a Monday night and expect to air it out anymore.

The governing body is moving its meeting dates over to hump day.

The council voted unanimously Monday night to accommodate an absent Councilman Mike DuPont’s new work schedule — he was recently appointed borough attorney in Sayreville, where the council also meets Mondays — and reschedule its meetings to the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month.

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DuPONT’S NEW GIG CAUSES CLASH

dupontRed Bank Councilman Mike DuPont at a council meeting last month. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

While Councilman Mike DuPont’s appointment as attorney for another town was the unmentioned reason behind his request last Monday that Red Bank change its bimonthtly meeting schedule, up in Sayreville, the appointment was an occasion for political theater.

In a dramatic council meeting in the Middlesex County town that same night, DuPont’s appointment prompted the mayor and two Republican council members to storm out because, according to local paper The Suburban, they wanted a different law firm representing the governing body and argued that the appointment circumvented the mayor’s authority.

That left the remaining four on the council to vote on whether to hire DuPont, who is a partner on Broad Street with former Red Bank Mayor Ed McKenna in the McKenna, DuPont, Higgins and Stone firm. Which they did, handing.

Can you say awkward?

“Yes it was,” DuPont told redbankgreen.

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McKENNA RETURNS TO RIVERCENTER

ed-mckennaFormer Mayor Ed Mckenna at his Broad Street law office Wednesday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Amid a tough times for retail and changes to how it does business, Red Bank RiverCenter has enlisted one of its founding fathers to help fulfill its mission.

Political magnate and former mayor Ed McKenna was named to the independent agency’s board earlier this month.

It was a sensible move, as the agency is focusing more heavily this year on attracting shoppers and businesses to move into town, all while trying to help established merchants succeed in this sludgy economy, said Nancy Adams, Rivercenter’s executive director.

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