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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RED BANK: COUNCIL WRAP

red bank eastside parkFootings are ready for the installation of a prefab restroom building at Eastside Park. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A bond to fund parking improvements and the swearing-in of a new police officer headlined a relatively quiet session of the Red Bank council Wednesday night.

Here’s a wrap-up of the highlights:

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RED BANK: PUSHBACK OVER REDEV CONTRACT

ken deroberts megan masseyCommissioner Megan Massey pressed agency manager Ken DeRoberts on differences in prices quoted for a contract. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank’s new Redevelopment Agency began doling out work to professionals Tueday, and one member immediately tapped the brakes on spending.

At its monthly meeting Tuesday, Commissioner Megan Massey signaled a reluctance to approve a contract that had been recommended by the agency’s manager.

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RED BANK: INTERPRETERS TO AID POLICE

red bank translator program juan sardoBorough resident Karla Ortega, left, translated remarks by Lieutenant Juan Sardo into Spanish as Councilwoman Kate Triggiano, right, looked on at last week’s council meeting. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njIn what may be a first in New Jersey, Red Bank police will be able to draw on a team of local volunteers to help them bridge language divides in dealing with the public.

A new program championed by first-term Councilwoman Kate Triggiano will make volunteer interpreters available to help police in their normal duties as well as at community events, she said.

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RED BANK: REDEV AGENCY INCHES AHEAD

wilson beebe 072319Wilson Beebe recommended some tweaks to the agency’s statement of goals and objectives. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njStill taking small steps, Red Bank’s new Redevelopment Agency advanced on its goal of giving municipal properties some long-overdue attention Tuesday.

In a 20-minute meeting, agency members agreed to begin the process of assessing the condition of borough real estate holdings.

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RED BANK: FIREFIGHTERS KEEP FREE Y ACCESS

red bank ymcaThe Red Bank nonprofit says no families of kids now in a free membership program will be turned away. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank’s volunteer firefighters will get to keep their free memberships to the local YMCA, the organization announced Wednesday.

Police will still have to pay, though now at a discount, a spokeswoman for the nonprofit said. But there’s no change to the plan unveiled last week to end across-the-board free memberships for borough schoolchildren.

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RED BANK: MENNA ‘IRATE’ OVER YMCA ACTION

red bank pasquale mennaRed Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna speaking at the the Memorial Day ceremony last month. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna on Thursday blasted a decision by the Community YMCA to end free memberships for borough schoolchildren and emergency first-responders.

Menna went on the offensive after the Y’s “unilateral” action, which he said was made without any advance notice to or discussion with his administration.

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RED BANK: NEW AGENCY EYES TOWN ASSETS

red bank borough hallAmong the ideas the committee may take up: the possible sale of borough hall, above, at 90 Monmouth Street. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njA new municipal body with the potential to exert powerful influence on the future of Red Bank quietly took to the stage Tuesday.

Not quite the hottest ticket in town, the late-afternoon session of the new Redevelopment Agency drew an audience of three: two advisory committee members, who left early, and a reporter. But the ideas being floated, including the possible sale of borough hall, could soon move to the spotlight.

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RED BANK: BROAD TO THE RIVER? ‘WE’LL SEE…’

red bank broad street Buildings along Front Street have blocked views of the Navesink River from Broad Street for more than a century. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njIs there, at last, a well-capitalized Broad-to-the-river plan for Red Bank in the works?

Not in his office, says developer Steve Denholtz, whose multi-state empire has been devouring borough properties — including three that would fit in nicely with a project offering panoramic Navesink River views from downtown.

Then again, that doesn’t mean one might not happen, Denholtz tells redbankgreen.

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RED BANK: TRIO GUILTY OF TEACHER’S MURDER

jonelle meltonRed Bank teacher Jonelle Melton was slain in her Netpune City apartment in 2009.

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njAlmost a decade after the death of Red Bank Middle School teacher Jonelle Melton, three men were found guilty Tuesday of her vicious torture and murder.

A jury in Freehold found the trio guilty of all charges in the case, according to a Twitter announcement early Tuesday afternoon from the office of Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni.

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