MENNA PLEDGES END TO COVE CONTROVERSY

maple-cove-kayakersKayakers putting into the Navesink River at the Maple Cove Sunday evening. (Click to enlarge)

An ongoing battle over a couple of benches and sign proposed for installation on public property at Red Bank’s Maple Cove may be headed toward a peaceful conclusion.

Then again, it could be that Mayor Pasquale Menna just thrust himself into the middle of the conflict, which has increasingly pitted the borough administration against a group of kayak and canoe enthusiasts.

Today’s Asbury Park Press reports that Menna “committed to getting the sign and benches installed by the end of the year” after being asked about them by the newspaper.

The pledge would appear to conflict with assertions by the borough administration that it is handcuffed by state Department of Environmental Protection regulations regarding the waterfront site at Navesink River terminus of Maple Avenue.

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PHS: WE PAY, AND WILL CONTINUE TO PAY

atrium-siteAn architect’s rendering of the already approved six-story addition hangs on a fence next to the existing 12-story Atrium at Navesink Harbor, on Riverview Avenue.

Apparent confusion over the the impact of a recent court case has officials at PHS Senior Living putting out word that they don’t intend to seek tax-exempt status for the organization’s showcase senior-living project in Red Bank.

The Princeton-based not-for-profit is expected to pay about $360,000 in property taxes this year on Atrium at Navesink Harbor, on Riverside Avenue. Chuck Mooney, PHS’s chief operating officer, says he expects that figure to double on completion of an approved six-story addition to the Riverside Avenue facility, and to approach $900,000 annually if a pending request to take the addition up to 12 floors is approved by the borough planning board.

But no matter how big the project ends up, PHS has not and will not push to have its property removed from tax rolls, Mooney tells redbankgreen.

“We definitely will not be seeking tax-exempt status,” he says. “There’s no basis for it in the law.”

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BOONDOCKS REVIVES WATERFRONT DINING

boondocks1Scenes from a recent Tuesday night at Boondocks. That’s owner Kelly Ryan at upper left with Mike Harper and Megan Prenderville. At upper right is chef Chris Kelber; lower right, the blackened grouper platter. (Click to enlarge)

Think of it as waterfront access for the rest of us.

Anyone familiar with Red Bank’s northern edge knows that river access is at premium. Hotels, private residences and marinas hog most of the Navesink River shoreline. It’s inaccessible to all but the most adventurous from Riverside Gardens Park. And while one might drop a baited line or crab pot from the pier at Marine Park, there’s no getting one’s feet wet — never mind that the pier and promenade are completely off-limits now for a planned reconstruction.

Hell, there’s even a battle raging over how much access the public should have to about 50 feet of frontage at the foot of Maple Avenue.

So it’s no small thrill to find that, after a two-year interval, waterfront dining is back on the Navesink here. And for many patrons of the new Boondocks restaurant, it’s a double thrill to discover that the simple seafood menu is done with panache.

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FAIR HAVEN TO SEEK GREEN ACRES FUNDS

fh-williams-house2
Residents of DeNormandie Avenue have raised traffic and parking concerns about the proposed conversion of the riverfront residence to a park.

In response to concerns raised by neighbors, Fair Haven officials last night put off voting on a plan to fund the $1.2 million purchase of a one-acre parcel on the Navesink River, according to a report in today’s Asbury Park Press.

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A ‘MASSIVE DISPLAY,’ WEATHER PERMITTING

chris-santoreChris Santore of Garden State Fireworks overseeing the loading of the KaBoom barge at a dock in Staten Island earlier this week. The barge is scheduled to come upriver to Red Bank on today’s 4p tide; a second barge heads to a spot near the Oceanic Bridge off Rumson early Friday morning. (Photo courtesy of Tommy Welsh)

Everywhere you look, it seems, New Jersey towns and cities have scaled back or canceled their annual Independence Day fireworks shows.

Today’s Star-Ledger is among the latest media outlets to detail the economic fallout on fireworks shows.

But here in Red Bank, the KaBoom Fireworks on the Navesink display will go on Friday night, barring an unexpected windstorm or drenching rain — in which case it will be moved to Saturday night.

The only real difference from past editions of the event is that organizers will be out soliciting contributions to close a deficit for the $200,000 spectacle, people involved in the planning say.

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CENTURY HOUSE EYED FOR POCKET PARK

fh-williamshouseWith its million-dollar view of the Navesink, the Charles Williams house would be razed sooner or later, locals appear to agree. Below, a weathered medallion on the doorframe marks the structure as a Century House.
(Click to enlarge)

It’s a homestead that links Fair Haven not only to its roots as a riverfront village, but to the bedrock of its identity as a place where African Americans made their homes even in the days of slavery.

The Charles Williams house, built overlooking the Navesink River in 1855, has remained in the same family without interruption, pre-Emancipation right through the death of its most recent occupant, who lived there for 90 years.

Her name was Winifred Julia Decatur Robards, and she died one year ago this week at the age of 92, adding to the rapid erosion of the borough’s small black community.

But years before her death, she and her two sons saw the end of the line coming, and planned to put the house up for sale. And now, it appears the Williams house will indeed fall to a bulldozer at the behest of its next owner: the borough of Fair Haven itself.

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LUAU UNDIMMED BY LEADEN SKIES

Scene’s from Thursday night’s Sunset Luau on the Navesink fundraiser at the Atrium at Navesink Harbor on Riverside Avenue in Red Bank.

The event, formerly known as the Tiki Party, was under a drab sky for the first time in recent memory. But dozens of movers and lei-shakers turned out in island wear to help pay for special events hosted throughout the year by Red Bank RiverCenter, the downtown promotion organization.

To enlarge the slideshow, first start it, then click the box in the lower right corner of the display; to get back here, hit your escape key.