RED BANK: WHITE STREET FIXES OUTLINED

The makeover plan would affect English Plaza and the stretch of White Street from English Plaza to Broad Street, above. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s chaotic English Plaza and White Street area may become a part-time oasis under a concept plan unveiled Wednesday night.

Working with a $500,000 zero-interest loan from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Red Bank RiverCenter also aims to make the space safer for pedestrians an motorists, officials told the borough council.

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BUILDING THE RANKS OF FEMALE ENGINEERS

jacki flor 041814Jacki Flor on the site of the Sea Bright municipal parking lot reconstruction, which she’s overseeing, and Christine Ballard, giving a presentation in Red Bank below, say their interest in solving mechanical problems was nurtured when they were girls. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

c ballard 52609Of the 565 towns and cities in New Jersey, only 19 have female municipal engineers. And two of them serve towns on the Green: Christine Ballard in Red Bank, and Jaclyn Flor, in Sea Bright.

Municipal engineers are the brains behind public infrastructure, designing everything from crosswalks to sewer lift stations. They pursue grants to pay for ballfields and bulkheads. And they serve as emissaries, navigating the often choppy waters between zoning board applicants, contractors, elected officials and taxpayers.

In that realm, a woman’s point of view and way of communicating can often be helpful, Ballard said.

“There have been a lot of men doing this for a long time, and I’m sure they did it well,” she told redbankgreen. But “there’s been a wonderful transition to women in government,” and it turns out that other women are “sometimes better at translating projects, and why we need to spend a million dollars to fix the water plant,” to diverse constituencies, she said.

In fact, the broader field of engineering could use many more women, which is why the American Association of University Women and the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore are putting on an event at Brookdale Community College on Saturday to encourage girls to consider careers as engineers.

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