PAPERWORK PUTS FAIR HAVEN PLANS ON HOLD

rvr-rd-westThe River Road west streetscape is holding up a line of other projects in the borough. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Mike Halfacre, Fair Haven’s mayor, one-time Congressional hopeful and triathlete may add another exploit to his list: author.

No, not really. But, more than a year after pulling in big bucks – under a stimulus program whose existence he opposed – from the federal government for a major facelift to the west side of River Road, Halfacre says he’s got plenty of material for one.

“I will write a book someday about shovel-ready projects,” he said.

Perhaps it can be a Bildungsroman on working with the federal government, one that Halfacre said has produced small mountains of paperwork – and a backlog of other projects “all being held up by trying to do River Road west.”

“I cannot tell you how frustrating it is,” Halfacre said. “It’s a mess. I mean, even our president laughed at the shovel-ready projects a couple weeks ago.”

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IN FAIR HAVEN, YET ANOTHER ROADBLOCK

rvr-rdMonmouth County unexpectedly shut down a major portion of River Road Tuesday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Once again, a road improvement project along River Road in Fair Haven is causing business disruptions, and a growing number of merchants is voicing frustration over a lack of communication and coordination between the Monmouth County and the borough.

Store owners say they took an unexpected hit in sales when most of River Road was closed to traffic Tuesday, a move made, apparently unannounced, by the county, which is overseeing the $886,000, federally-funded streetscape makeover.

Coming at the peak of a cut-throat holiday season, the timing of the shutdown was “terrible,” said Dean Ross, owner of the Doc Shoppe.

“Four days before Christmas, you count on it,” Ross said. “Retail’s tough enough. You need everything.”

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RIVER ROAD GETS OVERSTIMULATED

fh-river-rdA stretch of River Road in Fair Haven, seen looking east here, will get upgrades thanks to federal stimulus money. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

How do you get more money from the federal government than you ever dreamed of, or even asked for? Tell ’em you don’t want it, apparently.

It worked for Fair Haven, which, led by anti-stimulus Republican Mayor and Congressional candidate Mike Halfacre, recently received $886,000 in stimulus funds — nearly double the borough’s original request of $480,000 for its “River Road West Streetscape” plan.

The borough was notified by the Federal Highway Administration in February it was receiving the larger-than-asked for sum, Halfacre says on his blog.

The 12th-district House candidate also defends accepting the money, despite his belief that the $787 billion stimulus package passed by President Obama last year was “pork-laden” and would be “ineffective.”

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BOROUGH GETS STIMULUS GRANT FOR TREES

hot-topic rightA small leaf fallen from the massive federal stimulus package passed by Congress last year will result in tender loving care for some Red Bank trees.

Borough officials say they’ve gotten $7,000 Business Stimulus Fund grant via the state to provide for pruning and other services.

The grant, via the state, “will let us hire a local business to do much-needed tree maintenance,” Shade Tree Committee member Boris Kofman tells redbankgreen.

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