RED BANK: PLANTING SEEDS FOR FUTURE PARK

A map showing the extended former landfill site outlined in green. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

We need a skatepark. We need a playgrounds for West Side kids. We need to remember that this is a neighborhood that can’t handle throngs of out-of-town visitors.

Red Bank residents offered those and other suggestions as the process of shaping a new waterfront park out of the former town dump got underway with a community brainstorming session last Thursday night.

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SANDY HOOK: BACKERS RALLY TO SAVE HOUSE

sandlass-house-renderingThe Sandlass House, reimagined as a museum, above, and as seen in July, 2015, below. (Rendering by Anderson Campanella Archictects. Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

[See update below]

By JOHN T. WARD
sandlass house 070415 4

A group of preservationists trying to save the last remnants of a long-forgotten Sandy Hook beach resort from the wrecking ball.

Dubbed the Jersey Coast Heritage Museum at Sandlass House, the group has begun circulating a petition calling on the National Park Service, which owns the house as part of Gateway National Recreation Area, not to knock it down, and allow them to turn it into a museum.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL TO MEET FRIDAY EVENING

rb borough hallHeading out for an night of fun Friday? Kick things off with a council meeting. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

[See update below]

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s mayor and council won’t meet Wednesday night in observance of Yom Kippur.

Instead, they’ll meet Friday. At 6 p.m.

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LITTLE SILVER: BENEVEDIS HOUSE RAZED


ls benevidis 071916 2benevedis 070915 2As part of a plan to create more parking at Sickles Park in Little Silver, the borough-owned Benevedis house at the park’s entrance on Rumson Road was demolished this week.

Unlike the National Historic Landmark Parker Homestead next door, the 113-year old house was not considered historically significant, and became unusable after a radiator burst during a cold snap in February 2015, causing water damage throughout, official have said.

As reported by redbankgreena cache of rare old baseball cards was salvaged from the home among other items associated with the Parker farm, which dates to the early 1665(Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: RETHINKING ALL OF MARINE PARK

rich nicoletti 060816 2Longtime Red Bank clay courts tennis pro Rich Nicoletti on the site of the dormant riverfront facility earlier this month. The Monmouth Boat Club is in the background. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD
WhatsGoingOnHere

This time of year, scuffing footwork and the thwok of tennis balls would normally be heard most summer mornings down by the Navesink River in Red Bank’s Marine Park, widely considered nirvana among aficionados for its unusual red clay courts.

It was certainly that for Rich Nicoletti, who grew up in an apartment above what’s now the Downtown nightclub just up the hill, and spent decades as the tennis pro at the borough-owned facility.

“These tennis courts were a gem,” said the retired sports journalist, who at 73 estimates he’s spent fully one-quarter of his life at the site. “It was beautiful.”

But 86 years after they opened, the courts may have seen their last match.

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SANDY HOOK: TRUCK EATS TO REPLACE STANDS

imageJB Wood Fired Pizza at Sandy Hook in June, 2015. Below, the concession stand at lot B is among three to be torn down and replaced by food trucks.  (Photo above by Jim Willis, below by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

sandy hook concession 090114Never restored after Hurricane Sandy in October, 2012, three of the six concession stands at Gateway National Recreation Area at Sandy Hook will be demolished and replaced with food trucks and vending machines, according to a report by NJ.com.

Park superintendent Jennifer T. Nersesian told the news site that stands at areas B, C and E will be demolished, with utility hookups installed at areas C and E for the mobile food trucks and vending machines.

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SEA BRIGHT: IDEAS SOUGHT FOR PARK SITE

Sea bright anchorage park 2sb anchorage lot 040507What should become of Anchorage Park, the 1.2-acre sliver of riverside land at the foot of the Route 520 bridge in Sea Bright?

Acquired by the borough after Hurricane Sandy left the Anchorage Apartments uninhabitable in 2012, the now-vacant site may be eligible for grant money. But first, borough officials are asking for public input: should it be developed, along the lines of the concept shown above? Planted with grass and left at that?

A public discussion of the matter has been scheduled for Tuesday, March 15 at 6 p.m. at borough hall. The regular council meeting will follow at 7 p.m. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

 

RED BANK: TREE GETS PARKED & TRIMMED

rb christmas tree 112215rb tree 112315A crane lowered this year’s Red Bank Town Tree into place in Riverside Gardens Park Saturday, as seen in this reader photo taken from the Riverview Towers high-rise.

At right, trimming of the tree got underway Monday morning.

The 30-foot tree was donated by the D’Innocenzio family of Middletown, according to Red Bank RiverCenter, which arranged for the donation and installation.  (Photo at right by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)

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: TENNIS FANS MUSTER FOR COURTS

rb tennis 111015 2The tennis courts, overgrown with weeds since being swamped by Hurricane Sandy three years ago, got a sprucing-up from the borough last week. (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03As expected, the Red Bank council derailed an ambitious plan for $3.5 million worth of private development on the site of the borough-owned red clay tennis courts in Marine Park Monday night.

Still, a roomful of frustrated tennis enthusiasts packed the council chambers, many of them holding paper signs urging the council to now restore the hurricane-damaged riverfront courts to playability.

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RED BANK: MARINE PARK PROJECTS NIXED

rb tennis 081915 2The clay tennis courts at Marine Park as seen in August. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03All three private-sector proposals for the future of Red Bank’s hurricane-damaged Marine Park clay tennis courts should be rejected, a triumverate of borough council members is expected to say in a report next week.

The recommendation to the full council is being made in spite of the fact that one pitch, by startup Jetsun Enterprises, was far and away the winner on paper. But in the court of public opinion, it was over the line, Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer told redbankgreen on Monday.

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RED BANK: CHRISTMAS TREE WANTED

112414 tree2Got a spare blue spruce in your yard? Yes, temperatures may still be pushing 80 degrees, but Red Bank RiverCenter has put out a call in the hope that, like the Clay family of Holmdel, who donated the 2014 Christmas tree above, someone will pony up one for the coming holiday season.

The ideal tree is an evergreen at least 25 feet tall and accessible for cutting—not too close to buildings or wires. The tree will be moved at no cost to the donor on or about November 22 for installation in Riverside Gardens Park, RiverCenter said in a news release. For more information, call Jim Scavone at 732-842-4244.  (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: BURNHAM BLASTS PARK DELAY

rb tennis 081915 2The clay tennis courts at Marine Park as seen last month. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Five months after three proposals were submitted, the Red Bank council has yet to receive a recommendation on the future of the hurricane-damaged Marine Park clay tennis courts, and may not get one before election day.

That has Republican Councilwoman Cindy Burnham — who redbankgreen has learned was chastised behind closed doors by her colleagues for saying too much about the issue — ramping up her complaints that there’s something “fishy” going on.

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SANDY HOOK: BACKERS HOPE TO SAVE HOUSE

sandlass house 070415 2The Sandlass House, at the entrance to Sandy Hook, is the subject of a campaign by a new preservation group, whose logo is shown below.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD
save sandlass logo

The last remnant of a Sandy Hook beach club that was the subject of a Fair Haven man’s nostalgic documentary earlier this year now has a support group.

Chris Brenner tells redbankgreen that his video gave rise to an effort to save the Sandlass House, which overlooks  the Shrewsbury River from the site of a long-demolished resort called Highland Beach and is slated for demolition.

Supporters plan to press their case for preserving the structure this Friday in Shrewsbury.
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RED BANK: COUNCIL GIRDS FOR POSSIBLE SUIT

rb tennis 081915 1The clay tennis courts at Marine Park as seen last month, above. Below, an architect’s depiction of the proposed Red Bank Harbor plan. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank harbor 3 041515Red Bank’s mayor and council held a closed-door meeting Wednesday night to discuss potential litigation over the process that could lead to a makeover of the hurricane-damaged clay tennis courts in Marine Park.

Mayor Pasquale Menna told redbankgreen shortly beforehand that the topics to be discussed by the governing body in executive session included “possible litigation” concerning the tennis court site, though he declined to be more specific.

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RED BANK: JETSUN DEFENDS PROPOSAL

red bank harbor 1 041515A rendering by architect Mike Simpson of the Red Bank Harbor proposal, as seen from the horseshoe marina at Marine Park. Below, Jetsun principals Doug Booton, Michael Hernandez and Anthony Jude Setaro at the Red Bank Mayor’s Charity Ball in May. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

jetsuns 050115Jetsun Enterprises is not proposing a “Coney Island” in Marine Park, the startup developer said Tuesday night, in response to criticism by Red Bank Councilman Mike DuPont and comments posted on redbankgreen.

“Comparing our proposal to any large theme park such as Coney Island or Seaside is both illogical and irresponsible,” Jetsun said in a press release. “We are offering small recreational activities for families, not building rollercoasters and ferris wheels. We are extending the existing promenade, not constructing a boardwalk.” Read More »

RED BANK: DUPONT ZAPS JETSUN PROPOSAL

rb tennis 060614 2The red clay courts, idled since Hurricane Sandy, as seen from the Monmouth Boat Club next door. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Red Bank Councilman Mike DuPont has signaled he will oppose a proposal for a privately owned recreational center on the site of the borough’s riverfront tennis courts in Marine Park.

Calling the proposal, by Jetsun Enterprises, “10 pounds of potatoes in a 5 pound bag,” DuPont wrote in a letter that it “puts every imaginable use down at Marine Park with the exception of not having a ferris wheel” and could turn Red Bank into “Coney Island South.”

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RED BANK: ACTION EXPECTED ON COURT PLANS

rb tennis 042515 2HOT-TOPIC_03Wondering about the fate of Red Bank’s clay tennis courts in Marine Park, and whether they’ll be saved or replaced by either of two competing proposals to develop the waterfront site?

After nearly two months of silence, the borough parks and rec committee is expected to discuss the issue Monday night, when it could issue its non-binding recommendation to a trio of council members – Linda Schwabenbauer, Kathy Horgan and Ed Zipprich.

The councilmembers, in turn, are expected to meet Tuesday night in a closed session to “score” three proposals, one of which calls for keeping the courts, according to criteria set out in bids. They’ll also weigh comments made at a public forum held in May and afterward, said Schwabenbauer, who expects the committee to make a recommendation to the full governing body by the end of August, she said Wednesday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

LITTLE SILVER: OLD HOUSE TO BE RAZED


benevedis 070915 3
The borough-owned Benevedis house, at the entrance to Sickles Park, was badly damaged when a radiator burst during February’s cold snap, officials say. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Standing as it does next door to a farmhouse that traces its origins to the early 1700s, the so-called Benevedis house in Little Silver might strike passersby as a relic of American agricultural history, too.

Well, it is 112 years old, according to Monmouth County records. Otherwise, though, the borough-owned house at 221 Rumson Road appears to have no historic value, local officials say. It’s also now badly damaged as a result of a leak from a radiator that burst over the winter.

So in keeping with a plan contemplated when the town bought the property nine years ago, the house is coming down to make way for parking, with the reluctant endorsement of a preservationist.

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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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SANDY HOOK: LOST RESORT REVIVED ON VIDEO

Chris Brenner, below, made the above video to shed light on a vanishing piece of Sandy Hook history.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

chris brennerFair Haven resident Chris Brenner was fishing the Shrewsbury River one day last summer when low tide exposed the vestiges of a pier on the western side of Sandy Hook.

Brenner knew what the pier had been: part of a sprawling resort called Highland Beach that thrived for some 80 years years at that location. His mother, Jill, and late father, Ted, had even met there in the 1940s, at a popular bar called the Bamboo Room.

But looking to his right, as a stream of cars brought visitors across the Route 36 Azzolina Bridge to a park that’s now part of the federal Gateway National Recreation Area, Brenner wondered to himself: How many of those people even know what was once here?

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RED BANK: TENNIS COURT IDEAS VOLLEYED

jetsun 2 052815  An exhibit showed the layout of the Jetsun proposal superimposed an aerial view of the park. Below, MPAC principals Phil Flego, Gayle Horvath and Sandy Talarico make their pitch. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

mpac 1 052815What should be done with the hurricane-damaged red clay tennis courts at Red Bank’s riverfront Marine Park?

For almost three hours Thursday night, area residents offered opinions and teased out details of three formal proposals: one that calls for restoring the courts with a $500,000 donation by a Locust resident, and two that envision real estate development of river-oriented activity centers.

Each had its advocates and opponents, and none appeared to have won the hearts of all 120 people in attendance.

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