RED BANK: COUNCIL MAY REOPEN VNA PLAN

176 riverside red bank saxumThe former Visiting Nurse Association site on Riverside Avenue. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank officials may soon revisit development approvals for the former Visiting Nurse Association property on Riverside Avenue, following a process kicked off Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: CENTER BACKERS RALLY AGAIN

Marian Quinn of Manor Drive speaking at the rally. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njInvoking “demolition by neglect” and the prospect of “apartments” on the site, several dozen Red Bankers rallied Saturday to demand that the mothballed borough Senior Center be repaired.

They also momentarily drowned out the grandson of the center’s founder when he took issue with one of the handmade signs posted on the building.

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RED BANK: OFFICIALS EYE $1.18M INFUSION

red bank broad street 032720Downtown Red Bank was nearly empty on a Friday night last March as pandemic restrictions on economic and social activity took effect. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank’s government will receive a direct infusion of nearly $1.18 million under the $1.9 trillion pandemic recovery bill passed by Congress earlier in the day, officials said Wednesday night.

The funds will enable the borough to begin filling its own budgetary holes while providing aid to renters, small businesses and local non-profits, said an elated Mayor Pasquale Menna.

But one item it can’t be used on, contrary to the suggestion of a council candidate, is repairing the shuttered Senior Center, according to two officials.

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RED BANK: WHAT’S ON COUNCIL AGENDA

The council continues to meet via Zoom due to pandemic restrictions. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank’s borough council meets for its first regular session of the month Wednesday night.

Here’s what’s on the agenda, and what’s not.

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RED BANK: BALLARD SEEKS PROTOCOL FIX

Councilman Michael Ballard said his proposal would encourage exchanges between officials and residents that clarify information. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank council meeting attendees would regain their ability to ask follow-up questions of officials under proposed changes slated for discussion Wednesday evening.

The revisions to the council’s often derided question-and-comment protocol were announced by Councilman Michael Ballard on Facebook Tuesday afternoon.

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RED BANK: WHAT’S ZOOMING THIS WEEK

red bank, nj, council, mic, microphoneThe council is expected to discuss possible changes to the public comment protocol at its workshop session Wednesday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank’s planning board, council and zoning board meet this week, all via Zoom.

In chronological order, here’s what to expect in terms of business:

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RED BANK: WHAT’S ON COUNCIL AGENDA

The council is expected to renew its contract for EMT ambulance services. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank’s borough council meets Wednesday with a relatively light agenda.

There’s still something missing: promised changes to the public comment protocol.

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RED BANK: SENIOR CENTER DEBATE RAGES ON

A view into the mothballed Senior Center through a window in December. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank council members clashed yet again over the borough’s Senior Center Wednesday night.

Among the issues: a petition demanding that the facility, which has been out of commission for almost two years, be repaired and reopened at its riverfront location.

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RED BANK: WHAT’S ON COUNCIL AGENDA

Among the many events organizers hope to bring back in 2021: the Red Bank Classic 5k, slated for June 19. A list of event dates is up for approval by the council. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank’s borough council meets with a busy agenda of financing actions, hirings and more Wednesday.

There’s also something missing, though numerous commenters have demanded it: changes to the meeting protocol covering… public comment.

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RED BANK: MORE SPARKS OVER SENIOR CENTER

The Senior Center offers a rare vantage for Red Bankers to view the Navesink and Swimming rivers, speakers said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank’s elected officials got an earful from the public about the borough’s disabled Senior Center Wednesday night.

But even as the all-Democratic council unanimously approved a new lease on interim space, sparks continued to fly between its members over the center’s near-term future.

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RED BANK: DEMS ERUPT OVER SENIOR CENTER

The Senior Center has been out of commission for most of the past two years following a pipe leak. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njTension among Red Bank Democrats over the future of the borough’s Senior Center erupted in public over the weekend.

Joined by Mayor Pasquale Menna, four of the council’s six Democrats lit into the other two, one of whom is the party chairman, as having “placed their own popularity over what’s best for our residents and taxpayers.”

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RED BANK: SENIOR CENTER STILL ON ICE

The Senior Center has been out of commission for most of the past two years. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank nj

Red Bank’s Senior Center is not for sale, Mayor Pasquale Menna insists.

But two years after extensive damage caused by a burst pipe, multiple questions surround the still-closed Shrewsbury Avenue facility. Among them: will it reopen anytime soon, and will it stay where it is?

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RED BANK: YASSIN MOVES TO COUNCIL FORE

Councilman Hazim Yassin at a council meeting in February, 2019. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njAfter a year of butting heads with most of his fellow Democrats, Red Bank Councilman Michael Ballard lost his seat on the budget-shaping finance committee Friday.

He was displaced by first-term Councilman Hazim Yassin at the borough government’s annual New Year’s Day reorganization meeting. Read More »

RED BANK: MANSION RAZED; MORE LAND EYED

The planning board approved the demolition of 95 East Front Street in July, 2019. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njTurning aside pleas by historic preservationists, Riverview Medical Center demolished a 19th-century Red Bank mansion Monday.

Meantime, the hospital is planning to gobble up more real estate, redbankgreen has learned: a vacant lot directly across East Front Street from the mansion.

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RED BANK: RIVERCENTER CHANGES RIPPED

RED BAN RIVERCENTER LAURA KIRKPATRICK 030420RiverCenter Executive Director Laura Kirkpatrick speaks at a council session in March as Business Administrator Ziad Shehady and Councilman Michael Ballard listen. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

See UPDATE below

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna ripped a proposed overhaul of the bylaws of downtown promotion agency RiverCenter Wednesday night.

With two council members joining his critique, Menna said several of the changes would reduce council and public oversight of the agency, which he called “repugnant.”

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RED BANK: MENNA APOLOGIZES TO MURPHY

Governor Phil Murphy, right, and First Lady Tammy Murphy with Mayor Pasquale Menna at the Red Bank Classic in 2018. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topicRed Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna said he apologized to Governor Phil Murphy Tuesday for an incident in which Murphy and his family were harassed by louts as they ate dinner downtown Sunday.

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RED BANK: HOSPITAL PLAN DRAWS HPC IRE

red bank 95 east front 111920 2The planning board approved the demolition of 95 East Front Street in July, 2019, but the building remains vacant and intact. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

See UPDATE below

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njPent-up frustration over the apparent fate of a former Red Bank mansion erupted at the first pandemic-era meeting of the Red Bank Historic Preservation Commission Wednesday night.

Commission member Kal Pipo ripped the planning board for allowing the the demolition of a Victorian mansion two doors away from Riverview Medical Center – and said Mayor Pasquale Menna “sounded like he was the lawyer for” the hospital at that hearing where that decision was made.

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RED BANK: MENNA ADMITS FOOD TRUCK ERROR

pasquale menna 031120Mayor Pasquale Menna on Locust Avenue in March. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[See UPDATE below]

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna says he will recuse himself from future discussions of food trucks following questions raised by redbankgreen about work he did for the owner of a proposed site of a mobile eatery.

Menna, a private practice lawyer, did not disclose his connections to the property owner during Wednesday night’s council workshop meeting, when he revived the dormant issue of food trucks. But he said the omission was unintentional.

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RED BANK: MENNA BLASTS HEALTH ‘RUMORS’

pasquale menna 031120Mayor Pasquale Menna speaks with school board President Fred Stone at a March 11 ceremony opening the new primary school emergency access road. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[UPDATE, 4:40 p.m.: Menna tells redbankgreen he has been released from the hospital after treatment as a presumed-positive patient, according to he chart, though he has not received test results yet. He is home and expects to remain self-isolated for the next two weeks, he said. Meantime, the council workshop meeting scheduled for Wednesday has been canceled.]

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna, who said he is hospitalized “as a precaution” in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, blasted former councilwoman Cindy Burnham and an online publication Monday for spreading “rumors” about his health in recent days.

Separately, borough Business Administrator Ziad Shehady told redbankgreen that Burnham “should be brought up on charges” for what he called her “blatant lies” about him.

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RED BANK: SNACK BAR, SCREENS ON AGENDA

red bank riverside gardens concessionThe council won’t renew the lease on the snack stand at Riverside Gardens Park under a measure on Wednesday’s agenda. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

After several years as a seasonal commercial operation, the concession stand in Red Bank’s Riverside Gardens Park has proven to be a fiscal dud.

So suggests a proposal to nix an extension of the soon-to-expire lease on the building. That, along with an ordinance tightening up the property maintenance law governing lawns and window screens, is among the items of interest up for consider at for the council’s regular session Wednesday.

Here’s a quick rundown.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL WRAP

Mayor Pasquale Menna, seen here at the Town Light-up in November, kicked off his pre-council meetups with little advance notice. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

It was another quick night as the Red Bank council held its second regular session of 2020 Wednesday night.

A light agenda saw the governing body wrap up public business in under 30 minutes before going behind closed doors to discuss litigation and a lease.

Here’s a recap.

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RED BANK: TWO QUICK SESSIONS AND A SNAFU

red bank council 010820Would-be honorees Jim Scavone, in blue vest, and Guy Maratta, in brown jacket, arriving at borough hall with supporters Wednesday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank officials kicked off the New Year with a snafu Wednesday night.

After racing through back-to-back workshop and regular meetings in record time, the borough council concluded public business – just as two people who’d been told they’d be honored arrived with their families and colleagues.

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RED BANK: MENNA OFFERS PROTOCOL FIX

tammy murphy pasquale menna 010120New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy with Mayor Pasquale Menna prior to the start of Wednesday’s reorganization meeting. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna proposed a workaround Wednesday to a year-old protocol covering comments and questions at council meetings: he says he’ll show up an hour early to field them.

At the borough government’s annual New Year’s Day reorganization meeting, attendees also heard Menna heap thanks on Governor Phil Murphy, whose wife, Tammy Murphy, attended the ceremonial session.

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