RED BANK PUTTING COURT PLANS INTO PLAY

rb tennis 042515 4The courts haven’t been playable since they were swamped by the Navesink River during Hurricane Sandy in October, 2012. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Three proposals for the future of Red Bank’s red clay tennis courts in Marine Park are scheduled for public airing later this month.

The borough council will hold a special meeting on Thursday, May 28, at the Red Bank Middle School for presentations of the three plans. Two of them include ambitious real estate development and river-oriented activities, while the third aims to keep the site as a tennis facility.

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RED BANK: PARK IT HERE, JAZZ LOVERS

johnny jazz park 051115 1John Gatta wields giant scissors as he dedicates the new park named for his late brother, Ralph ‘Johnny Jazz’ Gatta Jr. (seen below), as Councilwoman Linda Schwabenbauer applauds. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

ralph johnny jazz 2006 1For 47 years, while cutting meat and selling boxes of rice and cereal, Red Bank butcher Ralph ‘Johnny Jazz’ Gatta Jr. preached the gospel of an American musical art form he deeply loved, and wanted his customers to hear as he heard it.

On Monday night, borough residents showed they had heard, and had been touched by both his love of jazz and his generosity as a grocer.

At a brief ceremony tinged with fondness, humor and a bit of live jazz, the site at the corner of Shrewsbury Avenue and Drs. James Parker Boulevard was named in honor of the late jazz-enthralled butcher.

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RED BANK: PARK TO GET JOHNNY JAZZED UP

rb jazz 082214 2ralph johnny jazz 2006 1Anyone who ever had the pleasure of getting an earful of bebop – and a history lesson in jazz – while picking up a pound of ground chuck at the now-gone Johnny’s Jazz Market in Red Bank should consider stopping by the pocket park on Shrewsbury Avenue at Drs. James Parker Boulevard tonight at 6:30 p.m.

That’s when borough officials will officially rename the park for the late butcher and irrepressible jazz maven Ralph ‘Johnny Jazz‘ Gatta Jr., who ran the shop for almost 50 years – always with his beloved jazz playing in the background.

Gatta, a lifelong borough resident, died in 2011. The park is the site of a series of summer jazz concerts hosted by the borough.  (Photo above by Trish Russoniello; below, by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

 

 

RED BANK: CLASSIC BOATHOUSE PROPOSED

MPAC rendering 041515A rendering of the proposed Marine Park Activity Center shows the existing Monmouth Boat Club at right. (Rendering by Katie Osepchuk. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03One of three proposed plans for the reuse Red Bank’s dormant clay tennis courts calls for the construction of a classic boathouse topped by a catering hall on the Navesink River in Marine Park.

The project, dubbed the Marine Park Activity Center, reflects the traditional river-oriented focus of two groups –  Navesink River Rowing club and the Navesink Maritime Heritage Association – anchored by a structure similar to boathouses in West Windsor and Camden, its proponents said.

redbankgreen detailed another of the three plans, called Red Bank Harbor, on Wednesday. The third proposal consists solely of an individual’s offer to donate $500,000 to the borough for the restoration of the site as a red-clay tennis facility, redbankgreen has learned.

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RED BANK: RIVERFRONT REC CENTER PROPOSED

red bank harbor 1 041515Renderings of the proposed Red Bank Harbor plan filed with the borough government on Wednesday. The horseshoe-shaped borough marina is in the foreground above. (Drawings by S.O.M.E. Architects. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank harbor 2 041515Vastly eclipsing the concept of a mere dog run, a startup development firm has proposed the creation of a privately funded, $3.5 million recreation facility on the site of Red Bank’s borough-owned red clay tennis courts in Marine Park, redbankgreen has learned.

Dubbed Red Bank Harbor, the plan drafted by Jetsun Enterprises and filed at borough hall on Wednesday calls for the creation of an enclosed visitors’ center along with an 18-hole miniature golf course, a synthetic ice rink, a boathouse for rental of paddleboats and kayaks, and a concession stand in the park, which fronts on the Navesink River.

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RED BANK: TENNIS COURTS? YOUR SERVE.

rb tennis 061414Do you have an idea and viable plan for the use of Red Bank’s 74-year-old red-clay tennis courts?

The riverfront facility in Marine Park, out of action since it was wrecked by Hurricane Sandy, are the subject of a request for proposals released Thursday. So far, talk has included restoration of the courts, turning at least two of the courts into a dog run, and a wholesale repurposing of the site as a multiuse, water-oriented recreation facility.

The deadline for submissions is 10 a.m. on April 15. Here’s the 165-page submission packet: RB RFP 032015. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

RED BANK: TENNIS COURTS MAY GET BOUNCED

RB TENNIS CTS 020715 1The courts, which adjoin the privately owned Monmouth Boat Club, center, haven’t been playable since Hurricane Sandy. Below, the principals of Jetsun Enterprises – Anthony Jude Setaro, Michael Hernandez and Doug Booton – want to develop the site for new recreational uses. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

jetsun 022315Red Bank’s 74-year-old red-clay tennis courts, out of action since they were damaged by Hurricane Sandy 28 months ago, may be turned into a dog run, at least short-term.

Longer-term, a trio of thirty-something locals hopes to transform the courts, which overlook the Navesink River from Marine Park, into a multiuse recreational facility that would, they say, put money into the town’s coffers.

Either way, the courts may have seen their last volley of tennis.

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RED BANK: DOGS, TENNIS & POLICING

RB DOG DAYS 073013 20Having held a Dog Days of Summer monthly event for two summers in a row, borough officials are now contemplating a year-round facility for dogs to play in. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

Should Red Bank establish a place for dogs to play? And if so, where?

And what should become of the borough’s red-clay tennis courts in Marine Park?

Those are among the questions on the table at a meeting scheduled for next week.

Another meeting, scheduled for later this week, concerns crime and community relations.

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RED BANK: SET LOOSE THE DOGS, BUT WHERE?

RB DOG DAYS 073013 22Canines can meet-and-sniff at Dog Days of Summer events, but some dog lovers would like a facility for daily use. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Red Bank bends over – if not quite backwards, but with plastic bags in hand – for dogs, with a monthly street-closing festival for man’s best friend in the dog days of summer. But nowhere in town can a dog owner unleash and let Fido run free.

Not legally, at least.

At least three borough council members and the dog-owning mayor think that’s a situation that needs, um, to be fixed.

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RED BANK: PARK TO HONOR JOHNNY JAZZ

ralph johnny jazz gatta 2006

By JOHN T. WARD

rb jazz 082214 1 He presided over what had to qualify as one of the quirkiest neighborhood grocery stores in the history of retailing, let alone Red Bank.

Now, four years after his death, the beloved jazz-enthralled butcher known to all as “Johnny Jazz” is to about to get a neverending solo.

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RED BANK: TREE’S UP

112414 tree2holiday tree 112314Donated by the Clay family of Holmdel, Red Bank’s 2014 Christmas tree arrived at Riverside Gardens Park overlooking the Navesink River on Sunday. Becker’s Tree Service and Powerhouse Signs did the installation. The lights and trimming will go on this week courtesy of Investors Savings. Red Bank RiverCenter, which organized the display, says the tree will be lit and decorated in time for the annual Holiday Express concert and townwide light-up Friday night.  (Photo above by Susan Ericson; right photo courtesy of Red Bank RiverCenter. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: PARK GETS ANTI-SKATE TOUCHES

riverside gardens 092214 2riverside gardens 092214 1In a move to thwart damage by skaters and skateboarders, new alternating-level caps have replaced flat ones on walls throughout Riverside Gardens Park in Red Bank.

Work underway at the park also includes the reconstruction of the promenade overlooking our beautiful Navesink River and the rebuilding of  retaining wall that collapsed in 2013(Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: CRITICS HOSE SPRAYGROUND PLAN

gasienica 081314Kathleen Gasienica, an environmentalist and next-door neighbor to the nature area, brought a boatload of visuals to bolster her critique of the plan. Borough Engineer Christine Ballard showed a photo of a similar sprayground in Middlesex County.  (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb spray park 081314A steady stream of critics blasted a plan for a sprayground at Red Bank’s Bellhaven Nature Area Wednesday night, citing environmental, economic and safety issues.

The controversial project, in the works for nearly three years, divided backers and opponents along familiar lines at a bimonthly borough council meeting, where Engineer Christine Ballard unveiled the most detailed plan yet for the Locust Avenue facility.

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RED BANK: BELLHAVEN PLAN TO GET AIRING

Bellhaven Wetland Map 1Bellhaven is located on the Swimming River, at the western terminus of Locust Avenue.  (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03After several months of quiet, a controversial project originally proposed as a children’s “sprayground” returns to the  Red Bank borough council Wednesday night.

What the plan calls for and might cost, however, is known only to a small circle of people. Mayor Pasquale Menna said Monday that even he had not gotten a peek at the revised proposal, which is slated to to be outlined at the council’s the regular bimonthly meeting.

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RED BANK: LANDFILL PARK STILL YEARS OFF

ballard 071614Engineer Christine Ballard, above, discusses sampling for toxic substances at the former landfill site. One result of the tests: new warning signs, below. (Above photo by John T. Ward; photo below by Brian Donohue. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb crab sign 071514Red Bank is on track with testing for toxic substances at its former landfill and incinerator, but the painstaking process is unlikely to yield new parkland within the next five years, the town’s engineer said Wednesday.

Meantime, one immediate upshot of tests at the 8.6-acre West Side site: new warnings about eating fish and crabs caught from the adjoining Swimming River.

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RED BANK: INCINERATOR SITE TO GET… WHAT?

rb landfill 070714The former landfill on West Sunset Avenue. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03After years of environmental remediation, Red Bank’s former landfill is expected to move forward toward conversion to a park beginning this month.

But what’s proposed for the West Sunset Avenue site? Even Mayor Pasquale Menna says he doesn’t yet know.

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RED BANK: BULKHEAD, BELLHAVEN DEBATED

rb bulkhead 041314The council approved a bond to pay for a bulkhead to halt erosion at North Prospect Avenue, above. A change to another bond, for a possible spray park at Bellhaven Natural Area, below, drew criticism. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

bellhaven-parkNot for the first time and almost certainly not for the last, Red Bankers picked over a pair of big-ticket projects at Wednesday night’s council meeting.

One was a bond ordinance council members were in a hurry to approve in order to save two Navesink River yards from severe erosion.

The other: A possible spray park at Bellhaven Natural Area that has pitted environmental activists against West Siders desperate for a playground.

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RED BANK: SPRAYGROUND RETURNS

Critics contend the sprayground would be built in an environmentally sensitive wetland.  (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03A proposed children’s “sprayground” installation that environmentalists say would encroach on wetlands and a bald-eagle foraging area could get a double green light from the Red Bank borough council Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: COOL JAZZ FOR A COOL FEW

nick clemons 7 090513nick clemons 1 090513Turnout was light  for a show by the Nick Clemons Band – seen above from the concesssion stand – for the season-ending Jazz in the Park show at Red Bank’s Riverside Gardens Park Thursday night.

Friday night should be clear and cool, according to Weather Underground. (Click to enlarge)

SEA BRIGHT: GROUP TO PAY ANCHORAGE TAB

The Anchorage Apartments, overlooking the Shrewsbury River, would be razed for a park under a DEP plan. (Click to enlarge)

By SARAH KLEPNER

Sea Bright’s borough council voted Thursday night to work with the state Department of Environmental Protection on turning the Anchorage Apartments into open space – after a group volunteered to make up for the town’s lost tax revenue.

The council made clear, though, that it would not support any parking on the property, which is located across Ocean Avenue from an ocean beach owned by the state and maintained by the borough. The governing body also insisted local control in its resolution of support, which is non-binding on the state.

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SEA BRIGHT: LOCALS SAY KEEP APARTMENTS

The Anchorage Apartments on the Shrewsbury River remain vacant eight months after Hurricane Sandy.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Sea Bright officials last week shot down a proposal to level a hurricane-ravaged apartment complex for a park after borough residents objected.

At issue was a resolution that that would give the state Department of Environmental Protection the borough’s support in its proposal to acquire the property at 960 Ocean Avenue – the Anchorage Apartment building – under the Green Acres program for an area of “high-public use” –  most likely, a park.

But despite the promise of greener pastures replacing an uninhabitable structure, residents turned out at last Tuesday night’s council meeting to blast the idea.

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RED BANK: PARK IT HERE SUMMER NIGHTS

A full slate of movies, music and workouts is scheduled for Riverside Gardens Park, but minus a songwriters’ series.  (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Despite the loss of a perennial favorite, Red Bank’s Summer Series in Riverside Park is still poised to draw plenty of fanfare with a busy schedule, packed with plenty of movies, music and fitness events over the next couple months.

After nearly a decade, Brookdale Raido’s Songwriters in the Park series will move from Red Bank to Belmar, according to Parks and Recreation Director Memone Crystian.

“Belmar was able to offer the program full funding, which we, unfortunately, could not,” Crystian told redbankgreen. “Basically, it was an offer they just couldn’t refuse.”

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RETURN TO WINTER

A woman and her dog enjoyed the warm temperatures on Grange Avenue overlooking the Navesink in Fair Haven Wednesday.

After a day in which temperatures rose into the 60s, and blustery winds blew overnight, temps are expected to drop to about 40 degrees by sunset Thursday. Meantime, a wind advisory is in effect through most of the morning. (Click to enlarge)

BLAZING TRAILS IN LITTLE SILVER

A view of the Little Silver trail, above. Rosemary Brewer points out the location of the newest section on an aerial map, below. (Photo below by Danielle Tepper. Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

Little Silver residents in need of a scenic walk need look no farther than their own backyards these days.

After a year of planning and on-the-ground clearing, two recent additions to the town’s trail system are now completed, said Rosemary Brewer, chair of the borough’s Environmental Commission.

Snaking their way behind homes on property acquired by the borough under the state Green Acres program back in the 1970s, the trail system now includes a short loop off Branch Avenue and a Y-shaped path that connects South Sunnycrest Drive to both Woodland Street and White Road.

“It sat untouched for more than 30 years, so why not let people use it?” said Brewer.

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