RED BANK: BELLHAVEN MAKEOVER IN SIGHT

christine ballard red bank nj bellhavenConsulting engineer Christine Ballard details the Bellhaven plan for the council last week. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

After years of revisions, and no small amount of controversy, changes to the Bellhaven Natural Area in Red Bank could be completed by this summer, officials said last week.

Once again, the project has been scaled-back from a version of a plan that called for a spray park and triggered loud protests four years ago, they said.

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RED BANK: BELLHAVEN PLAN SCALED BACK

Trees were taken down recently at Bellhaven Natural Area in preparation for an observation deck being built there, according to Business Administrator Ziad Shehady. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank officials have quietly started prep work for a project at a site once mired in controversy: the Bellhaven Natural Area overlooking the Swimming River.

The end result, however will be a “scaled-back” version of a plan that once called for a spray park and triggered loud protests three years ago.

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RED BANK: NEW BELLHAVEN PLAN WINS PRAISE

The new concept plan for Bellhaven Natural Area includes an observation deck, similar to the one shown for illustration purposes above left; playground equipment; and a play area covered with a rubberized safety surface, shown in light green. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Two years after residents gave a thorough hosing to a plan for a spray park in a West Side wetlands, Red Bank officials unveiled a new plan for the Bellhaven Natural Area Wednesday night.

This one got a warmer reception.

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RED BANK: NEW STINK OVER BELLHAVEN COSTS

A 2012 image outlines the extent of wetlands at Bellhaven Natural Area at the western terminus of Locust Avenue. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Two years after abandoning a controversial “sprayground” proposed for the Bellhaven Natural Area, the Red Bank borough council is moving ahead with plans for a playground at the site.

At its semimonthly meeting Wednesday night, the council approved nearly $20,000 in additional engineering costs for the site, a move that prompted fresh objections.

“This is deja vu all over again,” said Bill Meyer, owner of a downtown commercial building. The borough has already spent $73,000  engineering fees on the site, and “that money was burned and wasted,” he said. Read More »

LITTLE SILVER: BOROUGH EYES AVAILABLE LOT

The property, marked with a star, would provide direct public access to Challenger Field. (Image by Google Maps. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Little Silver officials hope to solve a longstanding problem of access to ballfields with the purchase of a vacant property, under action initiated by the borough council.

But it’s far from a done deal, hinging on financial help from Monmouth County and the property still being available when the town’s ready to make an offer.

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RED BANK: BELLHAVEN SPLASH PAD SPUTTERS

bellhaven 110915An entrance to Bellhaven Natural Area on Locust Avenue. A proposed playground would be sited within the of loop the path shown above. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03A controversial plan for a spray park in Red Bank’s Bellhaven Natural Area has all but officially sputtered out.

The borough-owned riverfront lot at the western end of Locust Avenue is still envisioned as the site of a much-needed West Side playground, according to Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer, the governing body’s liaison to the parks and recreation department.

But a spray park or a splash pad that shoots jets of water skyward? That’s done, she tells redbankgreen.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL WRAP-UP

rbcs 061015Seventh-graders from the Red Bank Charter School presented a report on “serving a healthy town,” and Mayor Pasquale Menna, below, returned to the dais after heart surgery. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

pasquale menna 061015Here’s some of what went on at the semimonthly meeting of the Red Bank council Wednesday night:

• Mayor Pasqule Menna presided over his first meeting following a month away following open-heart surgery. He thanked Council President Art Murphy for filling in for him at various events, and for “chauffering me around – ‘Driving Mr. Daisy,’ I suppose,” he said.

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RED BANK: MAPLE COVE SAVED… FOR NOW?

rb rosi cove library 021214The placement of the proposed border between the library parking lot and adjoining riverfront property was a subject of debate, but all of Maple Cove will remain on the open space inventory. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03The battle to save the cove is over, apparently.

The Red Bank borough council officially abandoned a plan to remove Maple Cove and a nearby riverfront property from the town’s roster of open spaces Wednesday night.

The unanimous move appears to close the book on a controversial issue that helped vault activist Cindy Burnham onto the governing body in the last election.

Not that it can’t be undone, says Burnham, the lone Republican on the six-member council.

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RED BANK: VOTE DELAYED ON RIVER SITES

maple-cove-lot1The Maple Cove parking lot during reconstruction in 2011. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Debate over how to classify parking lots at Red Bank’s Maple Cove and the nearby public library was put off for three weeks at Wednesday night’s borough council meeting.

Though the issue appeared on a draft of the meeting’s agenda, the possible delisting of the the two sites from the borough’s Recreation and Open Space Inventory, or ROSI, was removed early in the day.

The controversial issue was tabled until February 12 at the earliest, over the objections of newly installed Councilwoman Cindy Burnham, because a transcript of a three-hour public comment session held last month was not yet ready for review by the governing body, said Mayor Pasquale Menna.

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LITTLE SILVER: FUNDING ARM FOR HOMESTEAD

parker-homestead-2007A nonprofit organization will serve as the fundraising arm for the historic site, which dates back almost 350 years. (Click to enlarge)

By ALEXIS ORLACCHIO

A charitable corporation has been formed to help carry out plans to run Little Silver’s historic Parker Homestead as an educational facility, according to borough officials.

The plan is for a foundation to raise funds to carry out the Parker Homestead mission, said Councilman Dan O’Hern.

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FAIR HAVEN: PARK MAY GET WALKING TRAIL

Sickles School students often return from recess in the park covered in dust, teachers have complained. (Photo by Joe Fisher. Click to enlarge)

By JOE FISHER

Fair Haven is working on a $180,000 plan for McCarter Park upgrades that could include a walking trail, a relocated and improved ball field and more parking.

At Monday night’s bimonthly council meeting, borough Engineer Richard Gardella said the park “lacks an identity’’ and suggested that a walking trail like the one at Fair Haven Field would help “create some type of circulation’’ through the five-acre facility.

The walking trail could be equipped with benches and simple fitness stations along the route, Gardella said.

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